Choice Feminism and Human Flourishing
Linda R. Hirshman, writing in American Prospect, laments the failure of "choice feminism." In her view, women's choosing to stay at home is undermining the feminist movement. She believes, "If women’s flourishing does matter, feminists must acknowledge that the family is to 2005 what the workplace was to 1964 and the vote to 1920. Like the right to work and the right to vote, the right to have a flourishing life that includes but is not limited to family cannot be addressed with language of choice." The premise of her argument is this, "The family -- with its repetitious, socially invisible, physical tasks -- is a necessary part of life, but it allows fewer opportunities for full human flourishing than public spheres like the market or the government." Part of me thinks her piece is meant to be a satire, especially her advice on how to gain power in the household. She advises elite women to "marry down" so they can have the upper hand in the family. As if marriage were about power, not love. Certainly, a woman should be free to choose her own path in life. I know more than a few elite, intelligent women who would thrive in "public spheres." Many of them have and still do, and I admire them for that. Yet some of them choose to focus their efforts on their families, and some plan to do so in the future. If any of you family focused women are reading this blog, I would appreciate your perspective. Do you feel your choice is keeping you from flourishing?