One of the most popular and prevalent examples of purity culture’s racism is the critique of the pop singer Beyoncé’s life and work by conservative white politicians and pundits, who have gone so far as to wonder aloud if Jay Z had not crossed the line from husband to exploiting “pimp,” thus reducing Beyoncé’s talent and ambition to a sexuality that is not under her control.
Depending on your view, the answer to that question might seem really obvious or very tricky and hazy. However, it’s a phrase and concept that’s bandied about a lot, yet is rarely explained. A group of Australian researchers finally defined it clearly and holistically.
Choice is the conscience decision-making process we engage in to do what is best for ourselves, our homes, and our families. It is having access to information. It is having access to our options. And it is being able to carry out our decisions. Choices are sometimes easy, sometimes difficult; sometimes our own, sometimes made for us; sometimes public, sometimes private. But they are what make us human. And humans are too complex to legislate.
Reproductive choice is our right and also our responsibility, an awesome responsibility. But in an even more profound sense, choice is the human condition. It defines us as humans, and we are in turn defined by the choices we make. Choice is the basis of morality after all, and it is sacrifice as much as it is freedom.
Last month at a New Delhi youth festival aimed at raising awareness for sexual health (dubbed Project 19), volunteers led onlookers in a game of female-condom-first-impressions. Combating the idea that safe sex can be unsexy, especially in the case of the female condom, they instead promote it as fun and pleasurable, and in some cases, as an “erotic accessory.”
The view that motherhood is a woman-taming tool isn’t limited to religious fanatics – witness the tabloid fascination with Nicole Richie’s (presumably) unplanned stumble into parenting.