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All choices are not feminist. Many a times, we think that having a choice in deciding something is enough to make it feminist. The truth is far from this.
How often have you heard a woman say that I am choosing to do this, where this may refer to dressing type or a certain choice they are making such as taking on a husband’s surname after marriage, choosing to stay home after marriage or having a baby, accepting and defending some ‘traditional’ or ‘cultural’ values such as not entering temples while menstruating and much more. This comic strip, originally published at Everyday Feminism does a great job of explaining why all choices are not feminist.
While there is no one universally acceptable or applicable definition of feminism, it is equally true that feminism is not an umbrella term for any choice any woman may make. Some choices are not feminist because they are based on a gendered and hierarchical understanding of the world. A woman may believe she has choice and agency in her decisions, but it is good to pause at this point and ask: what is the full spectrum of choices offered? What shapes these choices? Very often, the answer is patriarchal structures reinforced continuously through family norms, societal values, career options and more. Read the strip to find out more.
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I think of myself as a feminist development practitioner with a strong interest in issues
Thanks for sharing this strip, Shruti. This “it’s my choice” argument has bothered me sometimes, though I haven’t always been able to put a finger on or explain why. I do now. I think it’s always important to remember that we don’t exist in a vacuum and we are all products of social conditioning. It’s one thing to choose to make your life easier by toeing the line, but it is also important to acknowledge that–if for no other reason than to understand ourselves and our society better.
Thank you for your feedback Payal and yes I agree, it is important to remember that we exist often as a product of our environment and not in a vacuum!
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