Many smart people disagree with Linda Hirshman about many topics, but I think she was spot-on when she described feminism’s “critical failure” as the watering down of choice rhetoric to “an umbrella to put over anything any woman said she had decided to do.” That failure allows politicians like Sarah Palin to cloak their conservative agendas with the language of “choice,” as David Cohen has blogged here.
Today I noticed the rhetoric of choice in a sandwich ad. This type of language is nothing new for those of us raised in the era of “Choosy Mothers Choose Jif.” But “choice” in 1970’s and 1980’s ads connoted a selectivity or discernment. The Subway sandwich ad I saw today (above) uses the word in a very different sense. The young girl’s “choice” of one particular fast-food sandwich is an exertion of personal preference in a world otherwise dominated by parental directives.
To me, this is just one more example of the way that “choice” has come to mean little more than “what I chose.” Ok, I know I’m getting all worked up over a sandwich ad, but … choosy mothers choose to critique pop culture.