So we generally agree that equality should, at a minimum, include:
[T]hat each person be free to choose what they believe is best for themselves, knowing that they will always have the resources they need to survive and that no one will have access to a quality of life that far outstrips their own.
Ahem…let me rephrase:
One of the critical components of equality is That each person be free to choose what they believe is best for themselves.
So when someone says:
Women shouldn’t breastfeed in public.
[Every conversation about breastfeeding, ever.]
“Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own.”
[Elizabeth Wurtzel, The Atlantic]
Women shouldn’t do [X sexual practice]!
[Every conversation about sex in the feminist blogosphere, ever.]
Or even says:
That we should “bar the use of food stamps to buy beverages that contain more sugar than substance — that is, beverages with low nutritional value that contain more than 10 calories per eight-ounce serving”
[Thomas Farley and Richard Daines, New York Times]
That is not supporting equality.
And that is what “Choice Feminism” is about. Not about “conning women” into accepting existing social norms. Not about disregarding the inequalities that exist in our system. Not about selfishly ignoring others so that we can do our own thing. But acknowledging that an equal society is one in which we do not restrict people’s choices simply because we disagree with them.
Certainly, Choice Feminism is not the end of the fight for equality. We have to ensure each person has the resources to make meaningful choices about their lives. But we can’t achieve our ultimate goal without respecting everyone’s freedom to choose.