Second Wave Of Feminism - Lesbian Morals



Other feminist ethical theories are more openly political than care ethics. They may be founded on existentialism, political solidarity, postmodernism, or radical feminist principles, for example. 

I only address one other clearly feminist ethics here - ‘lesbian ethics,' although existentialist feminist ethics was represented with ecofeminist ethics, and global feminist political solidarity. 

There are many articulations of lesbian ethics, such as an ethics of caring and an ecological feminist ethics. 

  • However, all lesbian ethics theorists believe that lesbian views expose the advantages of heterosexuality because of their place on society's periphery. 
  • Lesbian ethics is recognized for emphasizing the necessity for a feminist ethic to investigate the institution of heterosexuality, as well as the family, marriage, work environment, and other ethical topics. 


Lesbianism is generally thought of as a sexual preference or orientation that is unique to a person. 

  • This perspective is enriched by the inclusion of lesbian ethics. 
  • As a result, lesbianism may be seen as a political commitment, i.e., a commitment to prioritize women above males, which may or may not include same-sex sexual interactions. 
  • Although contentious when originally suggested in the mid-1970s, this is an essential element of the women's movement. 
  • Some extreme lesbian feminists believed that to be a feminist, one had to be a lesbian. 


Other feminists, on the other hand, believed that include lesbians and lesbianism in the feminist movement would harm it. 

(They were probably also worried about perpetuating the notion that all feminists are lesbians.) 


Challenges to the assumption of heterosexuality are seen as beneficial to feminism since they concurrently question gender norms, according to the more moderate lesbian ethics viewpoint. 


  • Women do not have to draw their identity from males, according to lesbianism as a political commitment. 
  • Women may seek emotional assistance from other women and be free of the stigma of being men's "second sex." 
  • Lesbians suffered invisibility as a group for a long time since lesbianism was rejected by Western society. 
  • The ideas of feminist lesbian ethics are born out of this experience of invisibility or marginalization. 
  • Traditional ethics, as well as parts of the feminist movement, may be criticized by both sexual and political lesbians for failing to examine the oppressive systems of what Adrienne Rich refers to as "compulsory heterosexuality." 

According to Rich, women have been taught to be heterosexual in a patriarchal society (a quick look at the toys, books, and movies targeting young girls supports this claim). 

  • Rich claims that patriarchal indoctrination conceals our real identities and promotes female rivalry. 
  • To break free of these repressive prescriptions and learn to be woman-identified, women must establish women's spaces or cultivate a women-centered society. 
  • Only in this setting, a woman-identified context, can one really be free to make moral choices, according to lesbian ethics. 
  • Heterosexuality is not in and of itself a problem; but, heterosexuality's dominance and assumption, as well as the societal advantages that come with it, are. 


According to lesbian ethics, patriarchal training solely toward heterosexuality prevents women from being free. 


Certainly, awareness-raising organizations and sisterhood initiatives may be seen as attempts to establish women's spaces. 

To ease the transition away from patriarchal indoctrination, several lesbian ethicists created retreat centers and communes. 


The criticism of feminist ideas that unintentionally presuppose a heterosexual paradigm is one of lesbian ethics' many significant contributions. 

The intersections and linkages between sexism and heterosexism as forms of oppression are shown by lesbian ethics and third wave queer theory. 


These kind of movements inside and outside of feminism will continue to be extremely essential in driving us to a better awareness of oppression in general as society grows more comfortable with social change and a nonexclusionary vision of social participation.


~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

You may also want to read more about Feminism and Activism here.



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