Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I choose my choice

The avid "Sex and the City" watchers among my readers will recognize the title of this post from a particularly profound episode where Charlotte decides to exit the workforce and to devote her energies to volunteering, home redecorating and bowl glazing. Naturally, her friends question her choice after so many years devoted to her career.
It seems since the inception of the feminist movement, we women have found a way to use our new-found choices as weapons against one another. The decision to work, not to work, to work part time, to job share, to have kids, to not have kids, to telecommute, to adopt, to surrogate, to marry, to marry someone with kids, to marry someone with a vasectomy or hysterectomy, to marry someone of your gender, to marry someone of the opposite gender, to marry yourself and register only at Manolo Blahnik - the possibilities are endless.
Whatever choice women make for their own lives, other women seem capable for the most part of using those choices to chastize one another rather than to celebrate the diversity of options that a generation or two ago simply did not exist.
This all came to a head in the last few weeks on a blog created by high school classmates of mine. For the first few months, everyone who posted comments and pictures on the blog had chosen to marry and have more than a few kids (one had 5 and we're only 27!). So, I posted a shout-out to those who had made different choices and had instead gotten advanced degrees and delayed the kid/marriage thing. Several supportive posts from friends who are either doctors, lawyers, or lobbyists followed and all seemed equalized. Until some anonymous fuck posted that there's clearly a "reason" my friends and I are unmarried or without kids. My reply - yeah, I CHOSE that!
As long as women denigrate the choices of others, call each other sluts or fail to support one another - we all lose. At the risk of ending this post with some total Girl Power-esque bullshit message here's my final thought: Make your choice and stand by it!


SaraK said...

You go, girl!

Louise said...

I just came across your blog and completely identify with your sentiments. I then, however, clicked on the link where your original comment took place. I am about to go to my ten year reunion, and although I'm in a new relationship, have not 'settled' and gotten married, bought a house, had kids, etc, although I do have a great career. Despite this, I thought your comment came across as inflamatory and offensive to those who had not chosen the life you had. It sounded unprovoked and insecure. I felt embarrassed for you.

When I go to my reunion this year I will not be making a point of being on the 'career' side. I won't make anyone feel bad. I have a job most people would dream of, but I avoid even mentioning it because it looks like I'm gloating, I will avoid talking to people like you.

Shtetl Fabulous said...

Thanks for proving my point Louise.

John said...

...Shtetl, Louise wasn't proving your point. She was picking up on the inflammatory defensiveness you exhibited in your original post on your friend's blog. Before I even read Louise's comment, I also thought it a bit odd that you would decide to make such a post. It seems you get defensive at women who make the "married with kids" choice and feel the need to argue/vie for an alternative choice, even though no one asks. As you've said, let other women make their choices, and you make yours. Now, if someone was denigrating your life choices, then ok. But that doesn't sound to be the case.

What would you think if you and other academic/businesswomen were standing around chatting, and a mother of 5 came in and suddenly said something along the lines of: "Well I decided to have children and I love it. Let's hear it for all the baby mommas out there, woo!" You'd probably all just be standing there staring and going "uh huh...anyway....".