Do you ever consider writing about a particular topic, only to discover that your position has already been summed up perfectly by someone else? I get that all the time. So instead of writing my own posts, I’ll just share a few other people’s today.
I share a lot of values with Ozy from Thing of Things, so it’s no surprise that I frequently agree with their writings. Today, I clicked through to their post on the gender wage gap and found my position on choice reflected perfectly:
The feminist position is that these choices are not made in a vacuum. Of course, any individual woman can choose to become a nurse or a stay-at-home mother if she so pleases; neither I nor Barry nor the National Organization for Women has any interest in forcing women into careers they have no desire to pursue. But we don’t view the fact that this is the product of a choice to mean that there is no injustice, simply that the injustice is probably located somewhere else.
To pick an extreme example, consider a slight variant on the trolley problem. A runaway trolley is going to hit five people on the trolley tracks, and you have the ability to switch it so that it hits you instead. You do so. Would it make sense to say “there’s nothing unjust about this situation! It would have been unjust if someone had deliberately switched a trolley so that you would be hit by it, but you made the free and independent decision to be hit by the trolley yourself, so there is nothing morally wrong about this situation.” That would be silly. It is true that you have not experienced the injustice of a person deliberately hitting you with a trolley. But you may have experienced the injustice of poor trolley safety practices, or a philosophy-themed supervillain going about tying people to tracks in order to set up moral dilemmas, or similar. Your free choice in a situation does not mean the situation itself was okay.
Over on tumblr, Alison left a strongly-worded comment on a video about racism in the gay community. I’d quote the best party, but I’d just end up quoting all of it. Go read it.
And in a reblog chain spawned by a blog post on monogamy and polyamory, wayward-sidekick writes about preferences promoted and influenced by culture, again in an unquotable but very readable way (the relevant part starts at “Not everyone”; it’s not necessary to read the rest of the reblog chain to understand her post, although if you’re interested in the topic, of course you should feel free to do so).