Opposing Choice Feminism Doesn’t Make Me Anti-Choice

The current model of Choice Feminism is riddled with problems.

Dumbbell

I’m gonna feel the empowerment any minute, right?

In radfem and GC spaces, we take them as a gimme. We understand that many of the alternatives we throw around are older than any of us, that radical feminism is not a reaction to Choice Feminism.

In our sheltered enclave, it’s easy to forget how confusing it is out there.

French YouTuber Alice Cappelle takes on some meaty subjects with a laywoman’s perspective. She lays out details and liberally quotes others, while admitting she doesn’t always know where she stands on things.

Critical analysis is like any hobby – Easy and fun with the right tools and a little practice. But no amount of skill can fill in one person’s limited toolset. No one can see everything, and education takes time.

I sympathize a lot with Alice’s intuitive approach, and she gave me something that I haven’t found anywhere else.

She quotes Meghan Murphy, “‘I believe we are beginning to forget where choice came from, and what it means.'” Alice sums up Meghan’s point, “I think what she means is the concept of choice in feminist movements used to be much simpler.

“It was about choice over marriage, choice over divorce, choice over career, choice over [our] bodies.

“Now a lot of feminists – usually white feminists like Murphy,” An interesting digression, from one white lady to another. I guess she’s contrasting Meghan with the subjects of her video, Cardi B and Emily Radakovsky. Two WOC who utilized self-objectification to escape poverty.

Because white women never do that.

The urge to virtue-signal is strong, I guess. Just another example of how identity politics divides us.

But her next point was what really got my attention: A lot of feminists … see the situation right now as a reversal of those gains, a subversion of what choice really means.

Alice does show us a little of her thought process, “And that implies that we need to restrict that choice.”

Long Underwear Better

Not exactly the perfect fit!

It seems the linguistic link between ‘opposition’ and ‘opposite’ isn’t limited to English. This is the kind of invisible mental bias that can trip up anyone.

“Or act in a way that there is not even a choice, so regulate self-objectification or the ways in which female sexuality is represented in the media.”

Her rebuttal is as fleshed-out as her straw man, “The problem is that, without choice – as flawed as it is – we’re perpetuating this idea that women cannot decide for themselves.” But… choice good!

“Which is a very patronizing attitude!” Could not agree more. And I have never seen a GC feminist say any such thing.

This is the factual opposite of what feminism is about.

This is the definition of a conservative mindset. Personally, I don’t like it when conservative women call themselves feminists, it’s claiming to be an oxymoron. But with identity politics, anything is possible!

Feminism is pro-choice in its essence, recognizing women’s agency the only real entry fee. But I think we’ve found another node in the TERF connect-the-dots game! 

I’m not sure how the meaning of feminism became so diluted. I know none of the older women in my family knew or cared much about it. They were Modern Women with a midwestern conservative bent, leaving my sister and me easy pickings for liberal social movements.

Radical feminism gives us a third way, firmly rooted in material reality. Setting us free from the two-dimensional false choice of Liberal vs. Conservative.

Alice goes on to address race in her video. I’m still working out the details, but hingeing analysis on personal identity atomizes the large groups that political movements need to be effective. Your personal identity is beside the point.

Taking race out of the equation actually evens out application of social programs. Educating and feeding poor children should have nothing to do with their race. 

Cardi B becoming a stripper to lift herself out of poverty is a sad story for me. And once the floor is open to identity talk, someone will make the point about how ‘ableist’ beauty standards are – Our narrow definition of ‘hot’ is the real problem! – and distract from the issue. I have been around this block so many times!

Elegant Conversation

Ramps in strip clubs would go a long way to achieving equality!

Cardi B has no interest in escaping her identity. She performed as a human sex toy to escape from poverty.

But Alice turns to infamous race-baiting tome American Apartheid for context. She describes how even Woke sociologists insulted black people’s humanity, and the collective middle finger they got in return. “Yes, it’s true, using self-objectification doesn’t sound super-feminist. 

“But it also sends another message, that you can rise in society and earn as much money as the people who oppressed you or the men who neglected you.”

This is actually a good articulation of something else that’s been bugging me: Cultural subversion is a powerful tool for social change, even if it doesn’t immediately change anything.

There’s some debate about how social change drives political change, but it’s definitely the more organic route. Feminism as a social movement needs women being unapologetic in public.

Feminism as a political movement has forgotten why she started all this in the first place. What is a woman, anyway?