Is there such a thing as free choice?

Gould’s “ “X”: A Fabulous Child’s Story” deals with the question of free choice and whether it exists. Throughout the course of the story, free choice seems to be only impeded by the social constructions manifested in the children’s parents. An example is Joe and Peggy’s parents scolding and disdaining their children’s choices to switch gender roles, in a sense, by Peggy mowing the lawn and Joe doing needlepoint (Gould 46). The children are un-doing the gender roles associated, by societal “norms”, with their physiologically displayed sexes, and so their parents step in to stymie that act of free choice. When the requirement of doing gender according to physiology is annulled by the “Xperts” (47), free choice of individuals (putting aside the notion of children being obedient to their parents because they are not on equal societal standing for reasons other than gender) is upheld. The difficulty with saying that Gould upholds free choice is that the existence of X is developed and monitored by scientists who provide X’s parents with a manual on how to raise the child properly (43). While there is arguably the chance that the parents will deviate, by choice, from this book, it seems unlikely as they want to raise X this way.

Gould, Lois. “”X”: A Fabulous Child’s Story.” (I know it’s in a book Feminist Philosophies, but I couldn’t make out the handwriting for the citation. I’m really sorry.)

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One Response to Is there such a thing as free choice?

  1. emilym27 says:

    This story also made me question the feasibility of free choice with regard to gender. You bring up great points about the story’s characters (mainly the parents) having social constructions that limit their children. But what about even larger social norms? For example, X can’t use the bathrooms that the other children use since X does not identify as male or female. There are also certain school activities designated by gender, as well as particular articles of clothing and behavioral expectations that take on gender stereotypes. Even if the characters themselves were not shaped by social gender constructions, wouldn’t there still be other structures in society that would limit their free choice?

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