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The meaning of the F-word: Making better choices

Julie Bindel, activist and writer

I consider it a priority to challenge the libertarians on the notion of women's "choice". Today, we can apparently "choose" to work as prostitutes, wear a niqab with just the eyes visible through a slit, give up a fulfilling career to have and raise children, get married and keep the "obey" bit in the vows, become porn stars, join pole-dancing classes, have breast enlargement, labiaplasty and other forms of cosmetic surgery, drink men under the table, raise girls on The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls and boys on The Dangerous Book for Boys, sexually harass men at work, have loads of unprotected sex, denounce feminism as irrelevant nonsense, go to lap-dancing clubs with male colleagues, ogle male strippers at "ladies' nights", produce lesbian porn, adopt a fundamentalist religious position, send your daughter to have her clitoris removed and vaginal opening stitch­ed up in preparation for marriage, and other "freedoms" too numerous to mention. Interestingly, in the heyday of feminism, these freedoms were perceived as bad for women.

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This article first appeared in the 12 March 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The weaker sex