The problem with feminism

Recently on the radio, I heard a chat about sexting and revenge porn in which the female host (a mother of a teenage girl herself), responded with comments telling her daughter on air that she shouldn’t be so stupid as to send naked photos etc. But then quickly her voice turned to a hurried comment that she should also probably say this is her choice. But then again reaffirmed that this move would be silly. There was conflict in her voice. That between a feminist and a caring mother.

I love that the feminist movement seems to have gone from strength to strength recently, especially in the wake of the Trump administration coming into power. Woman have found their voices and spoken up. But one of the issues that is plaguing me as a woman and a woman who has feminist views, is that the word feminism has now become so much about choice.

When Emma Watson was criticised recently about her topless Vanity Fair cover, her response was exactly that. That being a feminist is about having a choice. And I couldn’t agree more, as there are so many areas in life where women either don’t have a choice or our right to choose is being threatened.

But what is a choice? Something we make on our own or a decision we come to thanks to subconscious influences that we are not always so aware of? I worry because so often I see people making moves and labelling it feminism because it is a choice they made. But I wonder how they go to making that choice.

Most commonly these days, I feel the word feminism and choice is used for women who wish to flaunt a lot of flesh, especially on social media. Any criticism of them might have a quick response that somewhere includes the words, women’s rights, feminism and choice. Is that a free choice if that choice to flaunt a photo of a mostly nude body is a product of the influences around them, many negative and many telling that person they are either not good enough or flaunting their body is what will get them liked? This is the issue I have with the word choice. Not all choices are independent and free and not all choices are healthy.

Women should have the right to choose. But when they want to use that word choice to defend any action that they see as a feminist move, it needs to go further and be challenged as to what level that action is a choice or influenced by the society we live in.

I want women to have more choices, but I want women to make better choices from a healthy part of their mind, not one so impacted by negative views and a harmful belief system. The only way we can help other woman to be feminists and strengthen the idea of having a choice is by helping them to challenge how they get to that choice.

The struggle I heard on the radio was a mother clearly who has given that feminist message of a choice, but could see where a choice might be a bad move. This is the modern dilemma with that word. Where are the decision we make our choices and where are the decision we make subconsciously persuaded by others factors, hidden as what looks like a choice?

Choose, but question how you got to that choice, why you are making it and where it came from in your life. Make the right choice for yourself, but in order to make the right choices, it’s a matter of first of all exploring what that really is.

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