Perspectives on Politics


Introduction: Selling Out? Solidarity and Choice in the American Feminist Movement

Jennet Kirkpatricka1

a1 University of Michigan. E-mail:


This symposium examines an emergent orientation within the American feminist movement called “choice feminism.” Choice feminists are primarily concerned with increasing the number of choices open to women and with decreasing judgments about the choices that individual women make. Choice feminists are best known for their argument that a woman who leaves the remunerated labor market to care for her children is a feminist in good standing; she makes a feminist decision. While media coverage of choice feminism has been extensive, political scientists have been comparatively quiet. In this symposium, four political scientists analyze and evaluate choice feminism, revealing their disagreement about the validity of the choice feminist position and about the meaning of choice feminism for movement politics, political judgment, and liberal political theory.

Jennet Kirkpatrick is Lecturer of Political Science, University of Michigan ( She is the author of Uncivil Disobedience: Studies in Violence and Democratic Politics (Princeton University Press 2008)


The author thanks the Department of Political Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder for funding the 2008 conference Women's Choices and the Future of Feminism. Thanks also to Lorraine Bayard de Volo, Jill Locke, David Mapel, Celeste Montoya-Kirk, Laurie Naranch, Steve Vanderheiden, and the members of this symposium for their insightful comments.