Please meet Jenny, fellow blogger and friend. I find her writing refreshingly honest and straightforward. This guest post of hers made me reflect on the choices I’ve been offered, the ones I eventually made and the process it took to go from the “destiny” handed to me to making conscious choices to finding freedom. It is never simple and clear cut and I continue to learn.
Jenny here. I am so excited to write a guest post for IHM. I am an ordinary Indian woman who one day took a look around the world I was living in and began questioning questionable things. I am an avid reader and started to write mostly out of frustration with this thing called life. I try to write often at my original blog https://jennysreflections.wordpress.com/.
Thanks to Priya for encouraging me to write this guest post.
Hobson’s choice is almost an illusion as it is choosing between something and nothing.
When I first stumbled upon this term on Wikipedia, I hardly could wrap my head around it. Choice between something and nothing huh… how can that happen I wondered? Yet, on further contemplation I realized that my whole life has been a series of Hobson’s choice.
At the age of 15 choosing a group void of math and science was never an option. I was told either choose one without biology or computer science. Leaving out Math, which I hate was definitely not in the cards. Deep down, I knew that I would end up studying math, physics chemistry, and computer science, when all I wanted to be was a writer. So you see I never did really have an option. That very choice pretty much sealed my life as a don’t-wanna-be engineer.
At the age of 21, when I didn’t even know what life was all about, I was married. They said you don’t know how the world works, so listen to us and get married. I had rejected the first guy I saw, using the silly reason that he didn’t look good (Secretly hoping they won’t pressure me to get married). Ironically, using that same reason against me, I was told I couldn’t say no to the next guy, who did look handsome and met all the standards set by my family. I had to marry a guy when there was only one option and at a point where I had no clue what marriage was all about.
Hobson’s choice is my case was the absence of a meaningful choice.
When I, who grew up well educated in an upper middle class family, can come up with 2 major illusions of choice, I shudder to think of all the women in various strata of the society who completely have no choices in front of them.
It has taken me years to undo this – to understand what it means to be an adult, to reject other people’s warnings and protection, to have the confidence to make my own choices.
Every time someone says with a sneer – so you are a feminist, I have the immense urge to sit them down and tell them: FEMINISM GIVES WOMEN CHOICES. DO YOU WANT TO LIVE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT CHOICES?
As women in today’s world, we have the choice to live where we want, marry or not, work in any field, wear what we find comfortable. We have the choice to make decisions that affect us. Those decisions may not make sense to others. They don’t have to. As adults, we get to choose.
So dear reader – think about your life and those around you. Choice is the most precious thing you have. It will often be denied to you. Know that you are born with the right to it. Ask for it. Exercise it.
➢ What choices do you have now that you didn’t have a few years ago?
➢ How have YOU changed on a personal level? What choices do you make despite criticism, condescension, or emotional rejection?
➢ What kind of changes do you wish for, in terms of the specific choices that YOU should have?