If you claim to be a feminist and you shame girls for wanting to do traditional things like take their husband’s last name or be a house wife then you are doing it all completely wrong.

Feminism isn’t an elite group who defeats gender norms, it’s a group who accepts ALL women’s choices.

I will reblog this every single time I see it.

OK, so I have lots of thinky thoughts on this and I’ve seen this post enough that I really need to express them. I’m sorry in advance for my long-winded rambling.

First of all, I agree with this sentiment 100%. No one should shame anyone for ANY of their life choices, unless those choices are cruel and/or harmful to others. One of my best friends got married a few years back, and asked me to be a bridesmaid. I happily accepted. We’ve been friends for 20 years, and so she absolutely KNOWS my opinions and thoughts on a range of gender issues. My friend had a super-traditional wedding and took her husband’s last name. I imagine if she’d cared about my opinion on that matter, she would have asked for it. She didn’t, so I didn’t offer it. I’ve never offered it, and don’t imagine I ever will. What matters is that her husband is a lovely guy and they are absolutely equals as partners and parents.

I have another friend who cannot WAIT to be a stay-at-home mom. We’ve been friends for almost 10 years, and this has always been her dream. She adores the domestic arts and is good at them. She’s also great with kids. Her fiance makes enough money for them to live (modestly but comfortably) on one income, and she just told me they’re going to try for a pregnancy soon. I am so freaking excited for her—she’s going to get to do her dream job! What could be better than that?

So, yes. On an individual basis, we support each other and don’t try and impose the way that we want to live on others. That is a matter of basic good will and respect. But! Yes, there is a but. But this whole concept of “choice feminism” has a really dark side that I don’t think is talked about nearly enough. There is a reason why the practice of a woman automatically taking her husband’s last name bothers me as a general practice. There is a reason why the assumption that if one parent in a heterosexual pairing is going to stay home with the kids, it should be the mom. These opinions don’t exist in a vacuum, and on more than one occasion, I have felt pressured to abandon any and all critical thinking on social issues because choice.  

Personally, I think it is really fucked up that a woman taking her husband’s last name is still the default in this culture. That a man choosing to do the same would be considered bizarre at best and a proof that he was whipped at worst. That when women choose to keep their last names, their children often automatically get their husband’s last name anyway, making many women feel like their only choice is between being part of their own family or an outsider in it. That not automatically giving kids their father’s name is very rarely considered. That when a woman hyphenates, their husband often does not. That “it was really important to my husband” is considered a good enough reason for any and all of this. That men are never expected to make sacrifices for their relationships with women the way that women are expected to make sacrifices for their relationships with men. That we are all supposed to pretend that the convention of a woman surrendering her legal identity upon marriage has nothing to do with the fact that women are paid less, violated more, and generally considered less valuable and less human than men.

All I am really saying, I suppose, is that choice feminism should only, only only be about supporting individual human beings without being judgy jerks toward them. It should not be about shutting down the conversation on why certain practices have been—and continue to be— deeply disturbing. Because, unfortunately, I see that happening a lot. And that is nothing but a victory for a misogynistic system that seeks to silence us, confuse us, shut us down, and make us attack one another instead of looking at the real problem. I will never judge or criticize individuals for the choices that they make, even if I find them problematic. If, however, specific social issues and practices come up in conversation, I am sure as fuck going to continue to speak my mind.

That is my choice.


All I am really saying, I suppose, is that choice feminism should only, only only be about supporting individual human beings without being judgy jerks toward them. It should not be about shutting down the conversation on why certain practices have been—and continue to be— deeply disturbing. 

Yup.  This.  

Consider the opposite of “choice feminism.”  What should one’s level of judgment be towards a man who said, as they often did in rural Appalachia where I grew up, “Who are you to judge me if I choose to want a traditional marriage where my woman does all the work in and out of the house and I mostly sit on the porch in red flannel long-johns, shiftless and dead drunk, reminding her that at least I never beat her like her first husband always did?”

That too would be a “choice.”  And, sure, if he could find a partner who also really found that kind of relationship attractive then… great?

I don’t know about you but while I might not judge him personally, or hers, I’d still criticize the shit out of a culture, heritage, and (*cough*patriarchal*cough*) system that made that choice seem attractive to either of them.  Or anyone else.  Even if the relationship was “progressive” enough that domestic violence was off the table.

Because even without the domestic violence that shit has been, and continues to be, deeply disturbing.

So… I’m no saint, not at all, at all, at all!  But while I might grudgingly tolerate such arrangements I’d feel no obligation whatsoever to celebrate it.  And so I don’t see why anyone else, male, female, or trans, should feel obliged to celebrate it either.