This paper raises some minor questions about Lisa Tessman’s book, Burdened Virtues. Friedman’s questions pertain, among other things, to the adequacy of a virtue ethical focus on character, the apparent implication of virtue ethics that oppressors suffer damaged characters and are not any better off than the oppressed, the importance of whether privileged persons may have earned their privileges, and the oppositional anger that movement feminists sometimes direct against each other.
Should women’s terrorist acts be understood differently than similar acts carried out by men? Does the gender identity of a terrorist make a difference to the meaning of a terrorist’s acts? Commentators who explain women’s involvement in terrorism often offer explanations other than political commitment. They often refer instead to factors in the women’s personal relationships, thereby drawing on gender stereotypes and diminishing the women’s political commitments. I suggest instead that terrorism by a woman involves symbolic political “testimony.” It amounts (...) to saying that someone who is a typically nonviolent sort of person has engaged in violence on behalf of a political cause. Because of this significance, women’s terrorism merits a more serious consideration as testimony than similar acts by men. (shrink)
: Nancy J. Hirschmann presents a feminist, social constructionist account of women's freedom. Friedman's discussion of Hirschmann's account deals with (1) some conceptual problems facing a thoroughgoing social constructionism; (2) three ways to modify social constructionism to avoid those problems; and (3) an assessment of Hirschmann's version of social constructionism in light of the previous discussion.
The notion of citizenship is complex; it can be at once an identity; a set of rights, privileges, and responsibilities; an elevated and exclusionary status, a relationship between individual and state, and more. In recent decades citizenship has attracted interdisciplinary attention, particularly with the transnational growth of Western capitalism. Yet citizenship's relationship to gender has gone relatively unexplored--despite that throughout much of human history, women have been and continue to be denied citizenship, sometimes at even the lowest rank. This highly (...) interdisciplinary volume explores the political and cultural dimensions of citizenship and their relevance to women and gender. Containing essays by a well-known group of scholars, including Iris Marion Young, Alison Jaggar, Martha Nussbaum, and Sandra Bartky, this book examines the conceptual issues and strategies at play in the feminist quest to give women full citizenship status. The contributors take a fresh look at the issues, going beyond conventional critiques, and examine problems in the political and social arrangements, practices, and conditions that diminish women's citizenship in various parts of the world, including both Western and undeveloped nations. (shrink)
Women have historically been prevented from living autonomously by systematic injustice, subordination, and oppression. The lingering effects of these practices have prompted many feminists to view autonomy with suspicion. Here, Marilyn Friedman defends the ideal of feminist autonomy. In her eyes, behavior is autonomous if it accords with the wants, cares, values, or commitments that the actor has reaffirmed and is able to sustain in the face of opposition. By her account, autonomy is socially grounded yet also individualizing and sometimes (...) socially disruptive, qualities that can be ultimately advantageous for women. Friedman applies the concept of autonomy to domains of special interest to women. She defends the importance of autonomy in romantic love, considers how social institutions should respond to women who choose to remain in abusive relationships, and argues that liberal societies should tolerate minority cultural practices that violate women's rights so long as the women in question have chosen autonomously to live according to those practices. (shrink)
Autonomy has risen in esteem, then fallen, only to rise again in recent theorizing about women in society and culture. In this paper, I further bolster the renewed feminist interest in autonomy. I characterize feminist social aspirations in terms of three very abstract goals and then argue that women’s individual autonomy promotes at least two of them in crucial ways. Women’s autonomy will improve the quality of the close personal relationships that pervade women’s traditional moral concems (the first goal) and (...) it will enable women the better to resist traditional, gender-based constraints on their lives (the second goal). My conclusion is tempered, however, by the view that individual autonomy interferes to a significant degree with the solidarity and collective action by women needed to effect feminist social change (the third goal) . In passing, I gesture toward a conception of autonomy as a certain kind of narrative of self-development. (shrink)
Feminist ethics supports the contemporary educational trend toward increased multiculturalism and a diminished emphasis on the Western canon. First, I outline a feminist ethical justification for this development. Second, I argue that Western canon studies should not be altogether abandoned in a multicultural curriculum. Third, I suggest that multicultural education should help combat oppression in addition to simply promoting awareness of diversity. Fourth, I caution against an arrogant moralism in the teaching of multiculturalism.
This review of Janice Raymond's A Passion for Friends focuses on her strong sense of the individual and of individuality. However, and this is the central contention of my paper, her perspective is quite distinct from liberal individualism. It is also a complex variation on the feminist concern with selves in relationships.
Recent welfare cuts have revealed that the patriarchal control of women's domestic labor has been significantly relocated from the home and the governmental bureaucracy to the marketplace. Through the sale of domestic and reproductive labor, many low income women have come to occupy a class position in relation to middle and upper income families which parallels the position occupied by the traditional wife in relation to her husband.