If you ask me, for some reason, which may have something to do with it being a staggeringly brilliant newspaper owned by staggeringly brilliant people, my attention was drawn to the London Evening Standard last week and an interview with the writer Samantha “I’m so pretty other women hate me” Brick. In particular, my attention was drawn to what she said about her decision to cook and clean for her husband, as well as generally look after him.
“Feminism by any definition is about choice,” she said, “and my choice is this.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a woman define herself as a feminist in this way but now, having run twice round the park and limbered up, I feel I am ready to follow this logic through, and will interview myself accordingly:
If feminism is, by any definition, about choice, then is everything a woman chooses to do feminist?
Looks that way. As it happens, I chose to go shoe-shopping yesterday morning, and felt so feminist I thought I might explode. I was due to have my hair done in the afternoon – my choice; entirely – but, in the end, cancelled as I felt I’d had enough feminism for one day.
So, every “choice” is therefore “empowering”?
You don’t have to go all the way to “empowering”. Personally, I like to stop at “sassy”. It is enough for me.
But how “free” are these “choices” in a world still largely shaped by men?
Very. Indeed, should I choose to cook, clean and generally look after a man, I am fairly certain he would not try to stop me. I am also fairly certain that if I chose to retrieve his slippers, for example, he would not protest.
If I “choose” to enter a beauty pageant, is that feminist?
It’s possibly “post-feminist” which, as far as I can gather, means anything goes so long as you acknowledge feminism has happened. Post-chauvinists are, as a whole, quite keen on post-feminist beauty pageants, and particularly enjoy the swimsuit round. “Nice to see the girls getting it all out again for the boys,” they might say.
Until feminism’s goals have been achieved, can women’s “choices” even be called “choices”?
What would you prefer them to be called? Pineapples?
But what about questions regarding the social construction of gender and violence against women and unequal pay and the cost of childcare provision and the historical/institutional biases that discriminate against women and the sexual objectification of women and the situation of women in the Third World, who can be excluded from education, lashed, genitally mutilated etc?
Mummy... can I choose not to answer that? Being a feminist? Cheers.