Direct Engagement 2...


Choice is the opportunity to select between more than one option pertaining to ones life. Sometimes the best choice is to chose nothing at all. I think that the right to choose is one of the most fundamental right for feminists, along with being given the opportunity to chose for oneself. You can give someone a right to chose, but still suppress them by limiting what they have to chose from. I think that the fundamental right of "choice" makes this individual "right" prominent in all other "rights". Choice liberates oppression, and again as I stated that opportunity is critical as well. If one doesn't have the same opportunities as everyone else in society, I would think of it as more direction...hence a small form of oppression, rather then a choice. Choice relates to all facets of society, religion, food, hobbies, tradition, holidays, culture, birth control, politics, just as it relates to all aspects of a feminist such as work, reproductive rights, dress, sex, partners, relationships, etc. I believe this is the single most value that has benefited the feminist movement the greatest. I cant help but to recollect reading "Killing the Black Body" by Dorothy Roberts of how a large number of women were given hysterectomies without their consent. I was outraged by reading that this actually happened. This is such an inhumane way to treat an individual and I totally disagree with it. This is what I explained, they were giving the choice to have sex and have a baby (and in one specific case a young woman was given a hysterectomy because she was promiscuous), but they were not given the choice when they went in to have the baby delivered and were forced to have a hysterectomy or be discharged from the hospital. This is a case where the oppression was the women not being given the same choice as everyone else. However, I do think that some choices should not be allowed, such as the mandatory castration of sex offenders. I would be for that to this day in my strong opinion. However, my whole point is that it is alright to regulate some choices as a society to protect people from themselves, just don't do it based on the reasoning of their sex, religion, race, etc. Then it becomes oppression. (sorry it was late, the due date on the sheet said the 9th and despite the class conversation it completely skipped my mind).


  1. Since we are still figuring out the blog system for class, it's fine that your blog was a little late this time. Here is what I wrote on the official blog due date sheet:
    "Remember that when you are posting an entry, it is due the Sunday of your assigned week (so, 2 days before the date listed on this chart). Comments are due by Tuesday @ 10 AM."

  2. It makes sense that some choices should be withheld from everybody (the choice to murder, the choice to steal - clearly, no one in society should be allowed to do those things). However, when it comes to reproductive rights, there exists a fundamental difference between the genders - women have the ability to get pregnant, and men do not. So how can you offer the 'choice' of an abortion to the entire population? Or, more importantly: if abortions are banned, neither woman or men would have the ability to get them ('equality' of choices) - but women would suffer a hugely disproportionate amount more than men would. I think the idea of 'equality of choices' could possibly be used to justify policies which hurt women more than they hurt men - or vice versa. To me, limiting choices is the same thing as getting rid of choices. If you can influence people in a particular direction, it means that they don't have the full range of possible options otherwise available to them. The direction you influence them in can be good or bad, but this is a judgment call, and no one should have the ability to impose their opinions and views of the world on others. (Unless, of course, the situation is a morally-clear scenario, such as murder or theft.)

  3. I was not aware that I advocated men having a choice to receive an abortion, nor on men choosing to have a vaginal hysterectomy either. Some things such as simple as gender related differences I assumed were......common knowledge I suppose. But forgive me, I can elaborate.

    Hopefully this will count as a comment.

    Choices are.....rights. We all as Americans have them (some not until 18). We have the right to vote, we have the right to work, I even have a choice as to my profession. I have a right to chose to have sex with a male or a female, black or hispanic. I can chose where to sit on a public bus or railway, etc. In all these choices, everyone else has an equal opportunity to make these same decisions whether they are black or white, male or female. Thus, I refer to them as equal choices because......well, they are the same for everyone. Merriam-Webster even states it in the definition of "equal": "of the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another" and, "b : like in quality, nature, or status c : like for each member of a group, class, or society" (I REALLY like definition "c"!) . So, when I state "equality of choices" I really can't comprehend how it is implied to justify any policy other then simply, everyone having the same choices as everyone else.

    Now to the topic of influence. We are influenced every day by mass media, conscious advertisements and sub-conscious themes of color, music, lighting...virtually everything. You still have the same options, people are just trying to persuade you. Just because people in your neighborhood are promoting or trying to influence you to vote democratic, it doesn't mean the republican candidate isn't in the means they are expressing their opinion and free will to try and influence you to make the same choice as them, nothing more. However if you eliminate the republican candidate by not including his name on the ballot, you therefore are limiting ones ability to chose and in my humble opinion that is an example of oppression. Especially if you base the reason on limiting the choice to an individual based on their sex, race or religion. If you succeed in influencing a person in their decision (without using power, deceitful, manipulative or coersive tactics--since I am elaborating here), I don't think it means anything else other then you successfully influencing them to make a decision. Imposing your "opinions" on others is a right and is expressed everywhere everyday. I am even sure you probably do it more than you think and don't even realize it. But of course I could be wrong. Anyways, in my humble opinion once again, what should not be imposed is the judgement on someone else based on their choices.

    And "women suffering more then men, or vice versa"? When people don't have an equal opportunity to chose based on their sex, race or gender, it is everyone who suffers as a whole.

    And thank you Sara, it is greatly appreciated.

  4. Justin- I think you make some wonderful points. Some choices presented in everyday life are equal because the choices are available to anyone regardless of race, gender, etc. However, just because choices are presented to groups of people does not mean that they are fair choices. I think there is a difference between fair and equal. Equal choices are choices men and women can make. Choices that are not equal are choices that apply to only men or only women. Unfair choices exist when the choices are limited to men or to women. But unfair choices can be equal choices- men and women both choose to put on clothes to go out in public, but the way in which men and women make those choices is very different, as is the way those choices are received. If a man chooses to wear only a towel and a woman chooses to wear only a towel, they both may receive negative reactions by the public but those reactions will be different between the man and the woman. For example, look at American commercials. When a man wears only a towel, he is usually drinking a beer on the front lawn trying to pick up the newspaper and avoid the sprinkler. When a woman wears only a towel, she is a sexy temptress. Its an equal choice, that towel, but the response is unfair.

    The "Language: Choice" by Summer Wood reading from Bitchfest makes the point that women's choices are often influenced, and though females may think they are making a decision for themselves, the social forces at work lead to a choice that is hardly a choice. Societal standards influence me as a woman. They tell me that to receive the same level of respect as a man, I have to wear certain things (i.e. not that towel) and behave differently than men.

    The reading from Bitchfest would say that the choices women have sometimes aren't really choices. This is true in so many circumstances. I think that to really change things, society needs to not only present equal and fair choices for all groups of people- regardless of class, race, gender, etc.- but change the way those choices are perceived.

  5. I can totally agree to your idea. Every woman has their rights to make a choice liberally, without being judged by others that it is a right or a wrong choice. There should not be any right or wrong to make a decision, whether they want to work or have a family or either way, also whether they want to do abortion or not. Although, It seems like the most challenging choice women get to make is to have a "choice" to be a mom or not. Women have freedom to make their own choices, but they also need to be responsible for choices they make.

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This page contains a single entry by Justin published on February 8, 2010 4:22 PM.

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