Feminism is not just about “choice” or “free choice.”
Thanks for the random observation, you’re thinking – but I keep hearing from people who seem to think it is…or rather, they seem to think it is when it comes to some issues but not others. They think it absolutely is when it comes to women doing videos for Playboy, but not so much when it comes to having 19 children and raising them to be warriors for god. There are some contentious areas where it’s trendy to say IT’S HER FREE CHOICE, END OF, and there are other contentious areas where it’s not trendy to say that.
Me, I avoid this troubling inconsistency by not claiming that CHOICE is a conversation-stopper, a judge’s gavel, a guaranteed winning argument.
But I actually have more substantive reasons for not claiming that, like the fact that choices are complicated and it’s not reasonable to assume that they’re all “free” in any meaningful way. Choices come from somewhere, and while there are degrees of constraint and influence and coercion, it’s pretty hard to figure out how any choice could be entirely free. (Cue free will debate here. Cue 500 thousand words of wrangling. There, that’s done.) If you have that in mind, it becomes a little absurd to try to claim that something like doing a Playboy video is a wholly free choice. If it’s really free, why would you want to do it at all? It’s not directly rewarding like food or sex, so why do it?
Note for the obtuse: I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing a Playboy video. I’m saying “it’s her choice” is neither a slam dunk argument nor a feminist argument.