The Politics of Self-Respect: A Feminist Perspective

Hypatia 1 (1):83 - 100 (1986)
Recent liberal moral and political philosophy has placed great emphasis on the good of self-respect. But it is not always evident what is involved in self-respect, nor is it evident how societies can promote it. Assuming that self-respect is highly desirable, I begin by considering how people can live in a self-respecting fashion, and I argue that autonomous envisaging and fulfillment of one's own life plans is necessary for self-respect. I next turn to the question of how societal implementation of rights may affect self-respect, and I urge that discretionary rights, which allow people to decline the benefits they confer, support self-respect more effectively than mandatory rights, which forbid people to refuse the benefits they confer. I conclude by examining the import of these contentions for feminist theory. I believe that my arguments are of particular concern to women because women have traditionally been victimized by a mandatory right to play a distinctively "feminine" role which has undermined their self-respect.
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References found in this work BETA
David Sachs (1981). How to Distinguish Self-Respect From Self-Esteem. Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (4):346-360.
Gerald Dworkin (1976). Autonomy and Behavior Control. Hastings Center Report 6 (1):23-28.
Bernard R. Boxill (1976). Self-Respect and Protest. Philosophy and Public Affairs 6 (1):58-69.

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