Jodi Lustig received her Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University. A proud feminist from the day her toothless self vowed to be the first female President of the United States, she’s still a little surprised, all these years later, that an older, wiser, infinitely more politic a woman has yet to serve in the position. Jodi’s volunteered for Planned Parenthood, defended women’s health clinics, and helped elect Pro-Choice Democratic women with Emily’s List in those rare moments she wasn’t sitting in front of a computer. Her dissertation, The Modern Female Sonneteers, takes on the old saw about gender and love poetry; turns out, while the overwhelmingly male forbears of the genre were immortalizing their beloved ladies in verse, female poets were writing their own desires, challenging the gender binary that the amatory form itself seems to mandate. Jodi is currently writing a screenplay about one of these poets, Mary Robinson, an eighteenth-century writer and actress who captured the imagination of a nation and the heart of a prince. The original “It” Girl, Robinson was the first celebrity of the Print Age.
What is feminism?
Feminism really is the radical notion that women are people—and I look forward to the day when everyone in the world recognizes the line’s best read as a joke. Feminism is an inquisition in the lower-case sense: it is a questioning of values, customs, and culture on the smallest and largest scales, covering everything from “Who clears the table?” to “Why and when do we go to war?” Feminism seeks to ensure that everyone has the right to determine his or her own destiny regardless of race, class, or gender.
What is choice?
Choice is what makes us human. It is a privilege and a responsibility that comes with consciousness, the power to exercise control over our lives and bodies. That power isn’t infinite; but the power to control what happens to one’s own body is about as basic as it gets. (And if there were any doubt that this power weren’t of equal importance to men and women, why can’t I get the erectile dysfunction ads off my TV?) Having the right to choose means respecting the rights of others to choose—whether or not their choices would be yours. Choice is trusting men and women to make decisions that are right for them.