How Free Is Free Choice?

Free choice is something that many people, especially in America and other Westernized countries, like to believe they have, but exactly how free are our choices, especially when it comes to issues of gender? We have discussed in class how much of an influence media and advertizing have on the general populace, which is why issues of representation in the media are so crucial. However, when confronted with so much advertising, and the reinforcing of gender stereotypes such as those faced by children being raised as genderless when they entered school, it seems like the choice to exist outside of the gender binary, and its stereotypes, is not one that can be freely made. Society fights back against those choices. Similarly, how free are we to make choices when it comes to shared parenting and housework? With lower pay and societal expectations that a woman’s job is less important than her husband’s job when it comes to the home life, the choice to fight these gendered expectations and pressures becomes far from a free choice and is instead a choice that one must struggle for. There is very little “free choice” and options in the gendered sphere of life that one can easily make.

 

Belkin, Lisa. “When Mom and Dad Share it All?” New York Times. 15 June 2008.

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