Is there a “right way” ? Or is it a right to choose ?

 After screening the documentary “The Business of Being Born”, it was clear that this made us think about what we would do, what we would want if we were about to became parents. However, the vision presented by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein is limited. They described a situation in which women do not have control over their own bodies, which is not acceptable. But in the same time, they created a sort of a new norm, a new hierarchy of what we are supposed to do, by emphasizing the idea of giving birth at home : this is not good either. And it is the same when it comes to household : we are made to feel guilty of what we do, if it does not correspond to the “new norm”. A woman who decides to stay at home and to do all the domestic work would be judged, as it is not what is expected in our societies nowadays, as she is not doing the “right” thing.

But who can decide what is this “right way” ? What is important here is the idea that we should have a choice. There are too much pressure on what we are supposed to be, whether in terms of sexuality, of household, or of motherhood. There are too many expectations. We must have an equal access to all the existing options, in order to use our right to choose what we consider best for ourselves.

“The Business of Being Born” (2008) – Ricki Lake (Executive Producer) and Abby Epstein (Director)

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2 thoughts on “Is there a “right way” ? Or is it a right to choose ?

  1. nickmancino

    One of the most important aspects of how gender and society work as a relates to women I’ve come to realize is that women must deal with predetermined phallo-centric ways of choosing how to deal with contraception and birthing issues.This baffles me because childbirth is one of the rare places in society where men don’t have to have but still want control over the issue. I believe it is male-dominated society that scares women into thinking the hospital is the only safe way to give birth to their child. While it is undeniably safer, the motivation for profit will almost always dictate the doctor’s advice for their female patients to use the hospital instead of a midwife or birthing center. This is overkill and I hope more women would educate themselves and begin to use midwives and birth centers more frequently in the future.

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  2. emtrue17

    I really agree with the argument of your post, as I think that a huge part of women’s autonomy is maintained through access to choices regarding birthing and motherhood. I also agree that it is imperative that there isn’t a choice “hierarchy,” and that women are given unbiased and thorough information about choice. I feel that an additional example of the importance of choice and information is sex education in schools. Many states in the U.S. provide only abstinence-based sex education, and don’t actually educate students on sex and sexuality. This form of sex education is unhelpful and ineffective, as it has been shown that teen pregnancies are more common in states that provide abstinence-only education, while teen pregnancy rates are much lower in states that give students a more well-rounded sex education (http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/04/10/461402/teen-pregnancy-sex-education/). When women are exposed and given access to a variety of choices, they are better able to make decisions that preserve their autonomy. Limiting access to choices and information is only detrimental.

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