There was a time when I believed that being pro-choice meant I was being inclusive and understanding, but I was quickly shown how wrong I was.
I am aware that pro-choice has become synonymous with abortion rights, but when I speak of pro-choice in this context I am speaking of pro-choice in a general manner.
Choices affect our livelihood, personhood, personality, lifestyle, everything, so this is not specific to one topic, which is exactly why I was so hell-bent on supporting people’s right to be able to make a choice for whatever reason, but not anymore. I will preface this by saying that I in no way think it’s acceptable for people to be shamed for their decisions, I am aware that some people have to work with what they have and they should never be made to feel bad for it, that is not, and never will be my intention. Being critical, logical, and honest, on the other hand, is my intention.
I have found that many people have a superficial conceptualization of what a “choice” really is; they discuss choice in a vacuum. A choice is more than choosing one thing over another. A choice is also more than what you choose to do, especially if you have been illogically indoctrinated to believe in something in the first place. In which case, you lack agency, and therefore every “choice” made in that respect is proof of your lacking agency and ever fleeting autonomy as a person. It is very important.
If you have ever been indoctrinated into a certain belief or viewpoint your ability to make a choice of your own volition is skewed. You cannot be your own person and live according to your own terms, if you have been indoctrinated on a certain viewpoint to begin with.
AYE! Ole girl Merriam-Webster come through with the definition one time!
A choice is essentially a decision made of one’s own volition, with all options honestly presented, hence, “privilege of choosing freely,” a person cannot make a choice if they are not presented with all the facts and options honestly, otherwise it is not a choice, it is coercion. For example:
- If I take you to a restaurant and cover half the menu and give you the “choice” to order whatever you want, are you really making a choice? How would you feel if later you found out you could have chosen something else had I not covered half the menu?
- What if you have been taught from birth that KFC is better than Church’s chicken, and you’ve never eaten Church’s chicken, so you only eat KFC, is that really a choice that you made? Who told you that KFC was better? Why did they tell you that?
- If I tell you that you have the choice to either eat Church’s chicken or starve, do you really have a choice? Or are you being coerced? If you choose to starve, who should be held responsible?
These are examples of the kind of critical questions we should be asking ourselves when we make certain choices especially if they will adversely affect others around us and have the potential to be detrimental. Supporting a choice is important, but understanding the meaning of a choice is also important.
There will never be a moment in society for us to make an effective analysis of anything that affects us individually or collectively if people scream “PRO-CHOICE!” at every attempt to be critical.
We will always be stuck splitting hairs over the individual choice and the right to make the choice, while completely ignoring the most important factor: the “why” behind the choice. For that reason alone, I absolutely regret advocating pro-choice without analyzing the why.
Do I always make the best choices? Absolutely not! But it’s important that I know why, it’s important that I am aware of how that choice will affect me, it’s important that I know that my choice is powerful whether it is logical or not. The same goes for you. While I will not shame others or allow others to be shamed I will ask that you think critically, be introspective, and be aware of the power behind your choices.
I am aware that my stance on choice may not be the most prevalent, but I will not dismiss the idea of planting a seed. It’s important that others fully understand the choices they make and the support they provide to those who make choices that may or may not be choices in the first place. We have to do the work, it’s not always going to be easy or fun, but it will always be worth it.