Freedom and Free Choice

From the moment we are born, we have no say in which categories we will fall under in society. I didn’t choose to be female, Mexican American or part of the middle class. Whether I like it or not, these three aspects influence the level of freedom I have in my life. I’ve always had to “act like a lady,” face inevitable discrimination for being “brown,” and worry over how many presents I could ask for before Christmas. It is obvious however, that one couldn’t possibly make these sorts of decisions in the womb. For that reason, in the United States for example, society is built so that once a person becomes of legal age, he/she is “free” to make whatever choice is deemed fit. But how much “freedom” do we really have? Our parents and society both try to mold us into who they want us to be. So we are under their influence when we make decisions, which can arguably be seen as having little freedom. Even if we claim that our decisions are made solely according to our own desires, there is another aspect in free choice to consider. Much of the time, there is negative reaction from others to some of the choices people make. Gay couples are criticized for choosing to marry. Transgender individuals are shunned for wearing clothes that don’t seem to fit their assigned gender according to society. What then is freedom and free choice? I believe the two together are making a choice—with parental or societal influences as only considerations and not determining factors—and not facing any sort of judgment for it, be it wearing a certain style of clothing or marrying someone of the same sex. With this in mind, I find that we don’t have as much freedom as we think we do.

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