Although many different definitions of ‘feminism” exist, the ones that appeal to me always include either the word ‘choice” or the word ‘pro-choice.”

My ideal feminist world would allow all women and men to choose the best options for their bodies, their careers and their families. These decisions would be equally respected, regardless of their race, class, religion, ability, sexual orientation or political party.
The right to make informed decisions would allow women not only to move forward, but also to move in directions that may not exist today. With the freedom to choose, women could truly change the world.

On a college campus in 2008, it is often hard to see the need for feminism and women’s rights. Women and men live side by side, and opportunities seem to be equal.

However, turning on the television to the 2008 presidential campaign reminds me how much less respected women’s decisions are when compared to those made by men.
This election season, America is watching women on both sides of the political spectrum being ripped apart because of their decisions regarding their bodies, their careers and their families.

For years, Americans judged Hillary Clinton and her response to her husband’s affair. Many men and women criticized her decision to stay with her husband, claiming she was only doing it to ‘advance her own career.” Others praised her decision to work things out with Bill, claiming it was ‘the right thing to do.”

Throughout the 2008 primary season, this discussion continued. Finally, in June, some claimed that America was so judgmental of this decision that it lost her the Democratic nomination.

Although the marital status of male candidates is discussed in the media, few could argue that it is the factor that decides whether a male candidate wins or loses a political race.
This August, when John McCain announced his nomination of Sarah Palin as his running mate, America once again began criticizing the choices made by a woman.

Rather than focusing on whether Palin could do a good job in office, the media became obsessed with her five children, beauty-contest-winning good looks and wardrobe.
Some claimed that Palin was ‘not capable of committing the time” the position required because of her young children, especially her infant with Down’s syndrome. Others praised her decision to have a large family, claiming it made her a ‘good mother,” without mentioning why that would matter in her position. Some praised her decision to carry a Down’s syndrome child to term while others claimed it was selfish. Some praised her for encouraging her pregnant teenage daughter to ‘do the right thing” and marry her boyfriend, while others criticized Palin for putting her 17-year-old daughter in the public spotlight when she knew how cruel the media would be to her.

Literally overnight, America became obsessed with the decisions Palin had made about her body, her career and her family. Few discussed her politics, but instead focused on judging her decisions.

Ironically, many of Palin’s supporters praised her pro-life ‘choices.”

However, being ‘pro-choice” and a feminist is not about deciding whether one should or should not have an abortion. Being pro-choice is about allowing a woman to decide what is best for her body, her career and her family.

2008 has already proven to be a year of ‘change” for both women and politics. However, in order for real change to occur, America needs to move past the judgments placed on women’s bodies, careers and families and begin to accept the decisions made by Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and many women to come.

Nigro is a member of the class of 2009.

UR Baseball beats Hamilton and RIT

Yellowjackets baseball beat Hamilton College on Tuesday and RIT on Friday to the scores of 11–4 and 7–4, respectively.

The Clothesline Project gives a voice to the unheard

The Clothesline Project was started in 1990 when founder Carol Chichetto hung a clothesline with 31 shirts designed by survivors of domestic abuse, rape, and childhood sexual assault.

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A few months ago, as I did my daily walk to class through the tunnels to escape the February cold,…