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Liberalism is a family of doctrines that emphasize the value of freedom and hold that the just state ensures freedom for individuals. Liberal feminists embrace this value and this role for the state and insist on freedom for women.
A disagreement concerning how freedom should be understood divides liberalism into two different sorts; this disagreement also divides liberal feminism.
Some liberals understand freedom as freedom from coercive interference. This is fitting since the view they embrace is historically prior. However, as readers will see, there are contemporary classical liberals, and among them contemporary classical liberal feminists. Classical-liberal feminism and egalitarian-liberal feminism are, themselves, families of doctrines with ificant internal differences, many of which this article seeks to describe.
Nonetheless, the difference between classical and egalitarian-liberal feminist thinking about freedom has ificant consequences for how each frames the problem feminism aims to address, how each specifies the content of a liberal feminist agenda, and what role is ased to the state. Egalitarian-liberal feminists hold that much can and should be done to support the personal and political autonomy of women and to achieve parity in the processes of democratic self-governance in liberal societies like the United States. They tend to see the state as a potential ally in the pursuit of these ends and endorse measures like anti-discrimination law, affirmative action, and welfare state programs, as well as measures to change the culture and secure parity in participation in democratic self-governance.
These features put egalitarian-liberal feminism squarely on the left side of the political spectrum. They tend to endorse the outcomes of largely unfettered economic and associational arrangements and oppose, for example, anti-discrimination law, affirmative action, and welfare state programs. These features place classical-liberalism on the right side of the political spectrum.
However, some classical-liberal feminists hold that the task of liberalizing the culture remains on the liberal feminist agenda, although they consider this a non-political task and reject uses of state power to this end. Such classical-liberal feminists are on the left culturally. Other classical-liberal feminists reject the project of liberalizing the culture and are on the right culturally.
This article presents an overview of work in both contemporary classical-liberal feminism and contemporary egalitarian-liberal feminism. There is Liberal sex lady chat free among egalitarian-liberal feminists, however, about the role of personal autonomy in the good life, the appropriate role of the state, and how egalitarian-liberal feminism is to be justified.
Egalitarian-liberal feminists draw from the broad tradition of feminist theorizing for insight concerning the gender system. Contemporary egalitarian-liberal feminism may be understood as a contribution to the larger scholarly philosophical conversation concerning egalitarian-liberalism. Egalitarian-liberal feminists hold that women should enjoy personal autonomy. That is, they hold that women should live lives of their own choosing. These s suggest that to say women should enjoy personal autonomy means they are entitled to a broad range of autonomy-enabling conditions.
The following list of enabling conditions is representative. In some cases violence fractures the self and takes from women their sense of self-respect Brison The feminist literature on violence against women documents the particular role that violence and the threat of violence play in unfairly disempowering and limiting women Cudd 85— Having access to options : On the egalitarian-liberal feminist view, women are entitled to access to options Alstott Other sources of unfairly reduced options for women are stereotyping and sex discrimination in education and employment Smith ; Rhode Such stereotyping and discrimination affect some racial, ethnic and cultural groups in particularly pernicious ways.
Think for example of laws that prohibit abortion, or laws that favor certain kinds of sexual expression or family forms Cornell ; Brake Together, patriarchal paternalistic and moralistic laws and policies steer women into socially preferred ways of life. But see Chambers [ —] for egalitarian-liberal feminist uses of paternalism. These internal enabling conditions are related to the external ones. Violence and the threat of violence, stereotyping and discrimination, material deprivation, and cultural homogeneity all can have the effect of closing down reflection and imagination.
Some egalitarian-liberal feminists emphasize that there is much that cannot be done by the state Cudd Some critics argue that freedom is of limited value because, even when enabling conditions like these are in place, women may choose limiting and disadvantaging social arrangements. Some point to the phenomenon of deformed preferences: when attractive options are limited or arrangements unfair, people may develop preferences for those limits or for less than their fair share Nussbaum a: 33, 50; Cudd This phenomenon makes changing preferences through increased freedom problematic and le some feminists to reject theories that prioritize free choice Yuracko Advocates of procedural s of autonomy concede that the enabling conditions do not rule out that a woman could choose, for example, to undergo clitorectomy Meyers or become a pornographic model Cudd Liberal feminism must offer only a.
Individuals and groups will make various Liberal sex lady chat free in living that we cannot now precisely imagine. They … will sometimes go on a mistaken path. But they must be freed up to find their own way. Moreover, one should expect autonomous lives to take diverse forms in diverse cultural contexts.
Some egalitarian-liberal feminists hold that the social arrangements of personal life should not only be freely chosen but should be characterized by fairness or justice. Jean Hampton draws on the contractualist tradition in moral and political philosophy to describe one way in which heterosexual intimate relationships often fail to be fair or just Hampton Hampton Of course, many women choose to enter or remain in relationships in part because of affective benefits; for example women often get satisfaction from satisfying others or fulfilling a duty.
Why set aside these affective benefits, as Hampton recommends, when evaluating the fairness of a relationship? For criticism of Hampton, see Sample As Linda Radzik explains in her defense of Hampton, a relationship is fair or just if the benefits that flow from each to the other are on par, that is, if each gives as much as she gets When one party gets from the other ificantly more than he gives, he is denying the other her legitimate entitlement to reciprocation. Liberal sex lady chat free of this sort is not uncommon.
According to procedural s, it is possible that a choice to enter or remain in a personal relationship in which one gives more than she gets from the other can be autonomous. Therefore, the focus should be on ensuring that women are not pressured into or unable to exit them. This reminder enhances personal autonomy by broadening the imagination.
Nussbaum a: These functionings include, among other things, bodily health and integrity, affiliation, and political participation a: 41— But personal autonomy is not prioritized. A good life is one in which one is able to enjoy all of the major human functionings, that is, to flourish. To be sure, some may choose lives that do not include the actual exercise of some of the functionings—an ascetic may choose to compromise bodily health, for example.
But, Nussbaum explains, one must be able to function in each of these ways. Social arrangements are to be criticized if they render their participants unable to function in the valued ways regardless of their preferences a: Nussbaum holds that her is compatible with global moral pluralism and thus may function as a foundation for a global feminism Nussbaum a: These approaches avoid directly judging the substance of the choices women make or the arrangements that result.
They leave it to individuals and groups to fashion new, diverse, non-oppressive ways of life. There is also substantial agreement concerning what the state should do. There Liberal sex lady chat free disagreement about some hard cases, however, that pit liberal values against one another. Egalitarian-liberal feminists agree that the state must effectively protect women from violence, regardless of where that violence takes place Cudd 85—, ; Rhode — They also hold that sexist paternalistic and moralistic laws and policies are an unjust use of state power.
Laws restricting access to birth control and abortion are of particular import in this context because they take an extremely momentous choice away from women and, together with the cultural asment of caregiving duties to women, steer women into the social role of mother. Women must have a legal right, and meaningful access, to birth control and abortion services.
Egalitarian-liberal feminists also support laws against sex discrimination in education, employment, and public accommodations. According to egalitarian-liberal feminists, the refusal to hire or promote a woman or do business with her because she is a woman is a morally objectionable limit on her options. So are workplaces that are hostile to women. Liberal feminists argue that laws prohibiting sexual harassment and requiring affirmative action and comparable worth policies are often called for to remedy past and ongoing sex discrimination Williams Women, and increasingly men, do not fit this model.
The effect of not fitting the model is dramatic. As Anne L. Alstott and others argue that the state must ensure that the socially essential work of providing care to dependents does not unreasonably interfere with the personal autonomy of caregivers. Policies proposed to ensure sufficient personal autonomy for caregivers include parental leave, state subsidized, high quality day care, and flexible work schedules Cudd ; Eichner ; Okin Williams recommends, if necessary, legal action alleging failure to recognize this right as an incentive to employers to accommodate caregivers Williams Note, however, that egalitarian-liberal feminists are egalitarian-liberals and, as such, hold that among the proper uses of state power is to ensure that all individuals can enjoy a decent standard of living, including access to adequate income, education and healthcare Eichner ; on a guaranteed minimum income, see Cudd ; see also Stark Egalitarian-liberals also tend to support the right to collective bargaining to secure decent wages and working conditions Cornell 57; Cudd There is disagreement among egalitarian-liberal feminists about some hard cases that pit liberal values against one another.
Several hard cases concern autonomy and the body. Consider pornography. Egalitarian-liberal feminists tend to reject legal limits on pornography Cornell 57— But some hold that arguments for restricting violent pornography are not unreasonable Laden —; Watson and ; for what such a not unreasonable argument might look like, see Eaton and that the best arguments for freedom of expression fail to show that it should not be limited Brison Indeed some argue that violent pornography can undermine the autonomy of viewers Scoccia and the status of women as equal citizens Spaulding —89; see also Watson Prostitution is a similar case.
Surrogate motherhood is another case around which there is egalitarian-liberal feminist disagreement with some arguing that women have a right to sell procreative bodily services see for example Church and others raising serious concerns see for example Anderson and Satz Some hard cases concern the role of the state in family life. Family life has dramatic effects on the personal autonomy of its adult members. Assuming the role of caregiver, for example, can dramatically contract options. Some hold that the state should promote justice in the family—for example, the sharing of paid and unpaid Liberal sex lady chat free by its adult members Okin Others hold that the state may not be guided by a substantive ideal of family life Alstott ; see also Nussbaum a: —; and Wolf-Devine Others propose financial support for caregivers, for example state-funded care-giver allowances Alstott 75ff; Baehr ; compare Eichner 77— Egalitarian-liberal feminists hold that the state must protect and promote the development of autonomy capacities in children, especially girls.
For example they hold that child-marriage should be legally prohibited McClain 79 ; girls should have access to abortion without parental consent or notification Rhode ; girls must receive a formal education free of sexist stereotyping, including instruction in the legal equality of women McClain 81; Lloydincluding autonomy-promoting sex education McClain 57—58and ensuring that girls are prepared to be economically independent Lloyd Some egalitarian-liberal feminists emphasize the importance of political autonomy, that is, being co-author of the conditions under which one lives.
They argue that the basic structure currently distributes benefits and burdens unfairly, in part due to the gender system, that is, inherited patriarchal traditions and institutions.
By major institutions I understand the political constitution and the principal economic and social arrangements. The intuitive notion here is that this structure contains various social positions and that men born into different positions have different expectations of life determined, in part, by the political system as well as by economic and social circumstances. In this way the institutions of society favor certain starting places over others. Rawls 6—7. The veil of ignorance blocks from the parties knowledge of their place in society: for example their socio-economic status, religion, and sex.
Susan Okin proposes we. Okin None of the institutions of the basic structure, including the family, could as roles according to sex. It is common to argue that the state, educational institutions and workplaces should not as roles according to sex.
But Okin argues that this applies to the family as well. Gender blindness must play the same role in the family that it plays in these institutions. That is, families must be just. Okin offers a second argument to support the claim that families must be just. Rawls explains that a society satisfying his two principles of justice can be stable because within it citizens develop a sense of justice Rawls ff. For our purposes consider that citizens must develop the conviction that citizens generally are due the rights Liberal sex lady chat free equal citizenship.
Instead, girls and boys may grow to believe that women are not entitled to equal citizenship. She tells us that the state should. Alstott writes:. The egalitarian family is, even in principle, a troubling ideal. Strictly equal sharing seems unduly constraining, not merely because families today deviate from the ideal, but because free people might want to organize their lives differently.
Alstott Other egalitarian-liberal feminists have voiced similar concerns.Liberal sex lady chat free
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