What is freedom?

Although there is a very concrete definition as to what “freedom” is, it seems that its definition varies between individuals. One person’s freedom may be equivalent to another person’s imprisonment. A person’s definition of the term affects her behavior. In tandem, another person’s definition also affects how certain behavior is perceived. In X: A Fabulous Child’s Story, Gould discusses how the goal of the parents was to provide X with the opportunity to live a life free of gender uncertainties. However, freedom is dictated by the individual, making it difficult to state that X’s parents were giving him/her freedom when, in fact, X had no part in the decision. As a child, X was not able to choose the life that X desired. X’s freedom was based off of the standards of X’s parents, which quite possibly is entrapment. Without having made the initial decision as to how he/she wants to live his/her life, the level of freedom becomes questionable.

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3 Responses to What is freedom?

  1. chelseawilli says:

    I agree with what everyone here has said. I feel that in any situation, one person’s definition of freedom can also be considered a restraint by another. There are so many different definitions of freedom that one’s attempt to live freely ultimately results in conflict due to the criticisms of others. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights, for example, gives individuals freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. But what does this really mean? Even if an individual has the freedom to actually say what’s on their mind, they are not free from the judgement of others. These judgements can make that person feel inferior, and lower in social status. Individuals are constantly judged and criticized by their appearance, words, religion, occupation, race, gender identity, etc. Our society is not free, in my opinion, because as we discussed, the constant process of socialization and social organization automatically categorizes individuals into a hierarchal system of rankings based on false judgements of individuals in out society.

  2. gabriellaym says:

    I strongly agree with the point that freedom is relative from person to person, particularly in the case of societal expectations related to one’s gender, sexual orientation, race, and class. The essence of freedom lies in the ability to make choices that allow you to direct the trajectory of your life based off these initial conditions. With this in mind, I agree with the previous post that child X, like Baby Storm and Sasha, was not given freedom because it was not given the initial condition of gender and its natural and cultural tendencies from which to progress. In order to have freedom, one must feel enslaved in his or her current situation, in this case a given gender. Child X was not given the opportunity to make an educated choice that would lead to freedom because it did not receive a gender from which to emotionally and physically develop in the first place.

  3. meganjoymansmann says:

    I would most definitely agree that the story of X raises the question as to whether X was actually given any freedom. X was encouraged to divide gender constraints equally- a little playing with dolls here, a little of shooting hoops there. But in a real life situation, what if X had fallen in love with an activity that wasn’t necessarily “gender-neutral”? Children do not retain the same interests for all their life- I myself played softball for several years before realizing that I hated it and all I wanted to do was ride horses. Say X had really fallen in love with an activity typically associated with one gender or another (say, dancing or playing hockey) regardless of X’s “secret gender” and wanted to retake the freedom which had been taken at birth. Would X be “corrected,” causing an even more direct removal of freedom? In the story of X, all we see is this “perfect” child who answers all the questions as taught, who plays with certain toys for equal amounts of time, etc. Or rather, would this be an encouraged behavior from the Xperts, “choosing” a “gender” by X’s own accord?

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