The liberation narrative and the reality of the choice

We frame reproductive choice issues as women’s issues, and tie this idea to the positive good of liberation. One blindside to framing the issue in this way is that it makes man’s role in determining the choice invisible. Abortions, small families, delay of pregnancy, prioritizing professional over familial association, etc. are all seen as things that women decide all by themselves. Even if this were the ideal, it won’t be reached so long as the we pretend that the male influence is not there. Irrespective of what our ideals are, we can’t reach them by ignoring reality. 

To make it concrete: I’ve met a lot of women who want more kids but whose husbands won’t have it; others want to leave work to have kids but whose husbands don’t want to lose the income; and it’s just crazy to think that abortions never happen – or even that they don’t happen a lot – from male coercion. You can use this either as a critique of the liberation narrative or as something that needs to be taken into account to make it a reality, but either way it is a reality that demands to be taken seriously.  

1 Comment

  1. April 1, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    You say it’s not taken into consideration, but this isn’t my experience at all. Quite the contrary, actually – the woman who actually make the final choice in having their children’s spines snipped are quite keen to blame everybody but themselves.

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