Choice?

(13 Posts)
OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 17:45:41

I keep hearing this word about feminism. That it's about giving women a choice. I have never seen that as being a significant part of feminism. I think that in a perfect society choice might be available to everyone but we don't live in a perfect society and even if we did there are always going to be certain societal constraints.

If I choose to be, for the sake of example, a pole dancer (beleive me the mind boggles confused) is my choice limiting other women by conforming to a certain stereotype. How responsible am I, and any feminist-leaning woman (I am beginning to doubt whether I can call myself a feminst recently), for not doing so?

antoinettechigur Sat 20-Mar-10 19:00:41

I see feminism more as about equality than choice. No-one has completely free choices - they all have individual and social consequences.

The question of someone choosing to be a poledancer is an interesting one. I can't see that as a free choice as it is so linked to other, complex issues. Why would someone want to be a poledancer? If it is for economic reasons then it isn't really a free choice. Is it to feel "empowered"? Then that entails that they are heavily influenced by an unequal society that values a hyperinflated (literally!) version of female sexuality. I can't imagine that there are any many women who have been raised to see themselves as equals of men, who have never been sexually abused, who would make a free choice to be a pole dancer. Anyone I have known who has worked in the sex industry has done so through lack of economic options or through a lack of valuing theirselves and their individual sexuality

I can't hold pole dancers responsibile for the impact of their work on women in general bevause I don't regard it as a truly free choice and because I would see it a bit like blaming factory workers earning a few cents per hour for the reach of their employer (for example).

Essay over.. not something I have analysed much before but interested to know what others think.

Tortington Sat 20-Mar-10 19:06:17

it must be about equality rather than choice - i could never choose to say at home with the children ( should i have wanted to - i didn't) becuase it was not economically viable.

my husband also did not have that choice

but we both had the same oppertunity with regards to education/university/job prospects.

however dh and i talk freely about how he will find promotion much more easily than i. its just the way things are. so inequality remains

OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 19:17:24

Choice therefore doesn't exist for most of us regardless of sex then?

Tortington Sat 20-Mar-10 20:02:57

we are all slaves of a capitalist system viva la revolution. one day it will come my friends.

OrmRenewed Sat 20-Mar-10 22:18:04

I have always felt that feminism only truly works in a broadly socialist framework.

Tortington Sun 21-Mar-10 03:59:55

well the [pissed up] me understand socialism to mean equality for all
the femenists seem to think feminism meanse quality for all

it hink the differnece its that socialism is a political ideal and feminism isn't

will post otmorrw when i can make this shit make sense.

frankfrankly Sun 21-Mar-10 15:36:27

I've just started reading Natasha Walter's Living Dolls and she talks about this quite a lot. Basically she points out that the idea that "choice" should be the ultimate goal and so if women "choose" to be "liberated" and pole dance/sell sex etc then that's fine. What she unpacks is how actually when we assume people have free choice they don't necessarily. Society is geared towards women sexualising themselves for men's pleasure. There is a public delusion that it's liberating for a woman to show off her sexuality (say in lap dancing), but the reality of what happens to the real women who actually go down that route is very different.

She also highlights that middle class choice i.e. prostitution by Belle de Jour, is usually a world away from the majority experience of working class, poorer, less educated, women. And society has done vulnerable women in sex work a disservice by perpetuating the myth that it's liberating/sexy/fun. Rather than the real experience of degrading/harmful/high risk.

OrmRenewed Sun 21-Mar-10 17:38:49

I'm glad you posted that frank. I was very conscious I could be accused of prudery and patronising women by assuming that the sex industry is a Bad Thing. I wasn't. It was an example of one stereotype of women.

As in so many ways the surface gloss belies the reality.

NameWithDrawn22 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:15:23

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seeker Mon 04-Mar-13 13:21:54

I think the issue here is that women are capable of making profoundly un feminist choices. The difference between feminism and "equalism" is that in order to be a feminist, everything a person does has to be informed feminism "How will this decision I am about to make impact on women and the way they are percieved?"

So it impossible for a feminist, for example, to choose to be a pole dancer, because pole dancing, by it's very nature, supports a miogynist view of women and their sexuality. It is impossible for a feminist to choose to "obey" at her wedding, because that perpetuates the idea that men are superior ......

NameWithDrawn22 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:22:49

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seeker Mon 04-Mar-13 13:28:23

rapeSeed, I am going to report you because your name is offensive. Feel free to make sensible comments under a new, non- unpleasant name.

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