Showing posts with label Second wave of feminism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Second wave of feminism. Show all posts

Second Wave Of Feminism

The initial wave of feminist movement was marked by battles to obtain legal, economic, social, and intellectual respect for women. 

The second wave may be seen of as an attempt to address those elements of women's oppression that are left unaddressed after legal, economic, and intellectual equality has been achieved. 

  • This includes, in part, improving our understanding of equality, but it also includes women's physical experiences in culture and society. 
  • Changing the rules that prevent women from joining the employment does not necessarily result in a change in how women are treated once they are there. 
  • Women's full citizenship rights, including the ability to vote, do not necessarily imply that their concerns will be acknowledged or that they will be regarded seriously as political actors. 

Second wave feminism adds an analysis of oppression that includes understandings of the body, morality, subjectivity, and identity, allowing for new ways to analyze and fight oppression as well as new criteria for liberation.

Here, I cover each ongoing, and notable aspect of the Second Wave of Feminism (Click through to learn in detail):

    1. The Second Sex?
    2. Gender Vs Sex
    3. Sisterhood
    4. Identity Politics
    5. Race And Social Status
    6. Public Vs. Private - Personal Politics
    7. Psychological Oppression Of Women
    8. Ethics In A Feminist Context
    9. Caring Ethics
    10. Lesbian Morals
    11. Female Embodiment
    12. Overcoming Religion, Myth And Control
    13. Epistemology From A Female Vantage.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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

Second Wave Of Feminism - Epistemology From A Female Vantage.

One of several feminist models of knowing is standpoint epistemology. 

I'll go through some current developments in feminist epistemology and philosophy of science, but I'd want to start with perspective since it intersects with identity politics and the ethics of caring. 

Marxist ideas influenced standpoint epistemology. 

  • Marx believed that workers in a more involved position had a better grasp of the oppressive system and structure – in other words, a clearer image of reality – than privileged capitalists who had no real motivation to examine social institutions. 

Feminists, according to Nancy Hartsock, should use this approach to articulate a feminist epistemology. 

  • She claimed that we might identify a feminist viewpoint by looking at the tangible realities of women's domestic labor. 

Hartsock's viewpoint epistemology, like Marx's, starts with the assumption that there are two opposing factions. 

The proletariat, according to Marx, was in opposition to the bourgeoisie. 

  • Women, apparently are assumed to be in opposition to males. 
  • Importantly, neither theory asserts any kind of essentialist claim about workers or women. Both believe that society's organization is to blame for the conflict. 
  • The ruling class, whether bourgeois or male, determines what is ‘true' and establishes the criteria for acceptable information sources. 
  • However, Marx and Hartsock believe that the oppressed have a sharper perspective as a result of their battles, seeing that the strong merely set criteria for knowledge and reality in order to preserve their control. 

The criteria are incorrect, or at the very least misleading. 

In a stratified society, the downtrodden acquire a perspective via their labor and suffering. 

  • Keep in mind that a viewpoint is context-dependent; it is based on a certain moment and location. 
    • A women's job is both childrearing and contributing to sustenance since the division of labor is based in a sex divide. 
  • Along this axis, further distinctions between women's and men's work become evident. 
    • A woman's workday is twice as long as a man's. 
    • They will have a disproportionate quantity of work when they come home if they work outside the house. 
    • Women's labor also tends to be more utilitarian, focusing on all aspects of reproduction rather than manufacturing. 
    • A women's job is more boring and repetitious than men's, and that it consumes the majority of their spare time. 

It's worth noting that women's reproductive labor is embodied. It defies the duality by including both the intellect and the body. 

Other viewpoint theorists have expanded the idea in a variety of ways, including creating black feminist and Latina feminist perspectives, among others. 

However, standpoint theory is not without flaws. 

  • The use of a dichotomy between oppressor and victimized by perspective has been criticized by certain feminists. Others believe that putting a premium on employment or activity is harmful. 
  • Furthermore, as with identity politics, there is a danger of viewpoints multiplying to the point where everyone has a privileged knowledge of others on at least one issue. 

Nonetheless, perspective theorists may and have replied to these objections, and the theory has made considerable progress in displacing more conventional epistemological methods. 

One of the most important findings from perspective is that knowledge standards are socially created by the strong in order to preserve their authority. 

In third wave feminism, challenging conventions becomes critical as well. 

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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

Second Wave Of Feminism - Overcoming Religion, Myth And Control

Several of the societal beliefs that contribute to women's oppression or otherwise define and restrict them. 

The most well-known cultural use of myth is religion. 

  • Christianity, Islam, and Judaism — the three main monotheistic global faiths – all grapple with old patriarchal norms. 
  • Other religious traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, contain aspects of patriarchy, or what could be termed sexist behaviors, although they are not as deeply rooted in theological and spiritual ideas as monotheistic religions. This article focuses only on the latter. 

One of the main concerns addressed by feminist theologians is whether patriarchal traditions are required for religious belief and practice.

  • The portrayal of God and leadership within religious groups are two places where this issue is plainly apparent. 
  • God is described in both language and detailed descriptions of God's nature. 
  • God is referred to as "Father" in both Judaism and Christianity; 
  • God is referred to as "Allah" in Islam. 
  • The term Father conjures up images of a parent's affection and care, as well as the authority to establish and execute laws. 

According to feminist theologians, it is a pretty clear allusion to patriarchy. 

  • Furthermore, worship language is often masculine or uses the male pronoun in relation to both God and Christians. 
  • However, God does not have to be shown exclusively as a masculine Father
  • Other terms may also be used to characterize the transcendent being, and these alternatives may be useful in destabilizing patriarchal conceptions

For example, radical feminists advise referring to God as "Goddess" or "Mother God," ecofeminists prefer "Creator," and all feminists support referring to God as "God" in all cases to avoid using masculine pronouns. 

Each of these options connotes a distinct picture of God and highlights various aspects of God. 

  • Human understanding of God's characteristics was a popular subject of study throughout the Middle Ages, and it hasn't lost its allure, particularly in light of feminist concerns regarding the relationship between divine and human traits. 
  • When God is portrayed as a strong, powerful lawgiver, and males are seen to be stronger and more powerful than women, as well as holding positions of authority in the family and state, the logical inference is that men are more like God than women. 
  • Of course, there is much to be said about this, and feminist theologians have thoroughly refuted the argument, claiming that God's attributes are not limited to those masculine characteristics, that philosophy and theology have been dominated by men who created an image of God in their own image, and that God should not be identified (and limited) by essentially human attributes. 

The organizational structures of the main global religions are patriarchal. 

  • Males not only control the majority of leadership posts, but they also have a near-exclusive grip on authority inside institutional faiths. 
  • Women have only lately been allowed to higher levels of leadership in the main monotheistic faiths, and only in a few denominations or sects. 
  • Women's exclusion was justified, at least in Christianity, because of their separation from God and their connection with more worldly, earthly, or physical concerns. 
  • The restrictions against women having positions of authority in churches, like the exclusion of women from other aspects of social life, were often predicated on their reproductive capabilities. 
  • Furthermore, women are banned from the priesthood in Catholicism since it is claimed that Jesus exclusively chose male apostles — despite the fact that women were leaders in the early Christian Church. 

What accepted or conventional theology says about women is another aspect of the connection between women and religion. 

  • Women's responsibilities are described as mainly or exclusively related to the family in all three major global monotheistic faiths. 
  • They often contain clear comments regarding women's inferiority. 
  • Furthermore, they include accusations of women's bodies.
    • Women's bodies are a source of sin or temptation, therefore they must be regulated or covered, as well as women's movements or places in worship sessions. 
    • Women are often instilled with guilt and encouraged to accept lesser positions as a result of such beliefs. 

Feminist answers to religious sexism are diverse, innovative, and varied. 

  • The majority of radical feminists are adamantly opposed to established faiths. 
  • They believe that misogyny is so deeply ingrained in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism that a woman cannot participate without being implicated in it. 
  • To replace the sexist institutions they leave behind, some radical feminists have established new spiritualities and faiths, or resurrected existing non-patriarchal traditions. 

Another feminist approach, maybe less radical but no less difficult, is to try to change organized religion from the outside or from inside. 

  • In any case, feminists use social criticism to expose the inconsistencies in religious belief systems and the sexist aspects that are completely unnecessary for believing. 
  • They also use creativity to change patriarchal imagery and language in religious rituals and to include more women in religious ceremonies.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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

Second Wave Of Feminism - Female Embodiment


Looking back, one of the most important elements of existence in second wave feminism is how a person lives in a body. 

This is referred to as embodiment by philosophers. 

Second-wave feminists pioneered innovative approaches to analyzing the origins and consequences of issues such as eating disorders, female sexuality, sexual assault, beauty standards, and even bodily conduct. 

  • I examine some of these issues within the context of each of the many waves of feminism in order to demonstrate the various perspectives and techniques. 
  • In this essay, I discuss embodiment in general and its role in second-wave feminist issues. 

In some ways, embodiment stems from a long-standing philosophical conundrum: 

How to reconcile the intellect and the body?

In the seventeenth century, RenĂ© Descartes notably investigated this issue. 

  • The body, according to Descartes, is nothing more than a mechanism that is driven by the rational mind. 
  • The mind and the body are two types of substances: 

    1. the mind is a non-extended material, 
    2. whereas the body is an extended substance (it takes up space). 
  • Descartes, too, confronted the issue of explaining the connection between mind and body in his own time. 
  • To put it another way, how could something that doesn't take up space have any effect on something that does? 

Following philosophers have attempted to answer the issue and have given a range of answers. 

Some feminist explanations have an unique position in social philosophy, despite the fact that they typically come under the umbrella of philosophy of mind. 

As a feminist idea, embodiment refers to how one lives one's body. 

  • Embodiment is the topic of both criticism and positive theory building, given that women's bodies are often the target of considerable societal control as well as the focus of distinctively female contributions to society. 

Some feminists utilize embodiment to criticize women's societal expectations. 

Some feminists have argued that eating disorders and cosmetic surgery are both the consequence of women's estrangement from their bodies. 

    • When society delivers more or less constant signals about what constitutes the ideal or even the "normal" physique for women and men, deviations from those standards may lead a person to see her or his body as alien or even hostile. 

A person may turn to severe means such as life-threatening diet or surgery in order to gain control over this alien power. 

    • Take note of how this interpretation of the body as foreign or "other" appropriates Beauvoir's notion of otherness. 

The Other is seen as a danger that must be subdued. Similarly, the body may be a source of shame. 

    • Menstruation has been mythologized to the point that its onset may give a young woman humiliation at being subject to the forces of nature, as Beauvoir claimed. 

Patriarchal norms of feminine behavior may also lead to body shame. 

  • A woman may conceal her breasts and legs, covering her body to avoid being objectified or reduced to its components, in response to a leering stare or catcall. 
  • Of course, not every physical experience leads to feelings of estrangement or guilt, and not every woman has a complicated relationship with her own body. 
  • Embodiment is also how we interact with the environment. 

Instead of asking, "How does the mind interact with the body?" 

Descartes' inquiry becomes, "How does embodied subjectivity connect with the world?" 

Shame and alienation seem to highlight the inverse of this relationship: 

  • How the environment influences one's bodily experience. 
  • Subjective embodiment seeks communicative experiences and empathic understanding between and among individuals, rather than universalizing statements about the body. 

At various times and in different situations, women have distinct experiences with their bodies. 

  • Subjective embodiment enables women to reflect about how they live their bodies uniquely by rejecting essentialist assumptions about how all women experience their bodies. 
  • This is a world apart from medieval efforts to escape the body and modernist attempts to mechanize the body. 
  • The environment forms and is molded by the living body. 

The shifts in how women perceive embodiment are reflected in feminist theories on female sexual pleasure. 

  • In the Western culture, sexual intercourse was traditionally defined and centered on the male body's activities. 
  • Penetration and ejaculation were the hallmarks of sex. 
  • Women and sexual pleasure are almost completely missing from such a view of sex, and women who do seek or feel sexual pleasure may be demonized or ashamed.
  • They're just there to be entered and maybe pregnant. 
  • Women were even referred to as "vessels for reproduction" by some, but there was no mention of a woman's personal subjective experience of her body during sex. 
  • When the body is reduced to a reproduction object, alienation is common. 

Second and third wave feminists have made significant progress in reclaiming sexual pleasure for women, teaching women about their own bodies, the many locations and sources of sexual pleasure, and female orgasms, as well as educating the general public about sexual equality and reciprocity. 

Third-wave feminists also brought into the public a broader discussion of autoeroticism and non-traditional sexual interactions. 

Finally, embodiment may be seen as a metaphor. 

  • Since Plato, political theorists have utilized the body as a metaphor for the state.
  • Feminists are interested in this kind of body politics because the body shown is often a male body devoid of the natural rhythms and connections associated with women, and because the state/body metaphor may be inverted to demonstrate the molding effect of power on the body. 

The notion that the masculine body represents the state is complicated. 

It could mean one or more of the following (though not all at the same time): 

(1) the state is patriarchal; 

(2) reason rather than nature should rule the state; 

(3) only men are represented in the state; 

(4) the state is phallocratic; or 

(5) the values privileged in the state or society are masculine values. 

We allude to the metaphor's inversion. The state might symbolize the body, illustrating the ability to shape it. 

  • The inherent differences between men and women are less important than how those differences are perceived by a culture or society in determining how women are treated. 
  • Following theorists built on this finding, demonstrating how things like popular media produce women via the strength of ubiquitous message. 
  • When faced with pictures of how the body should seem, individuals usually strive to fit in. 

This is similar to the state's use of coercion to force individuals to follow specific regulations. 

Using the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault, feminists like Bartky even discuss how the body is policed. 

Clearly, a person lives as, in, with, and through a body in a variety of ways. 

Understanding how oppression affects embodiment advances feminist theory beyond legal equality to a far more nuanced understanding of freedom.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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

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.

Second Wave Of Feminism - Caring Ethics

The ethics of care is by far the most well-known and probably the most contentious feminist ethical theory. This normative moral theory arose from Carol Gilligan's psychology study and is often contrasted with Kantian deontology or justice-based normative theory. 

  • Traditional Kantian ethics has been attacked by several feminist moral theorists for overemphasizing fairness at the expense of relationship-based accountability. 
  • To address this seeming flaw in conventional Kantian ethics, several feminist ethicists have proposed an alternative that utilizes personal connections as both a model for moral responsibility to others and a starting point for making decisions. 

Care in a specific situation, rather than abstract rules of conduct, becomes the ethical decision-making guideline. 

Lawrence Kohlberg, a moral psychologist, created a six-stage model of moral growth, which Gilligan was a student of Kohlberg's phases tracked a child's moral growth from a punishment orientation, in which he or she is obedient (or moral) out of dread of punishment, to the greatest degree of moral development in autonomously chosen universal ethical standards. 

  1. The lower phases all indicated that individuals are moral because they desire to be seen as good by others — in other words, moral decision-making was driven by preserving interpersonal connections or keeping one's reputation as a decent person in the eyes of others. 
  2. The upper phases placed a greater emphasis on abstract law or commercial agreements as the foundation and motivation for moral decision-making. 

Individuals behave autonomously, but the greatest, self-legislated universal ethical standards universalize the principles on which they act such that they would expect all other people to act similarly. 

The context of a choice or the connections that it impacts should not be considered during the discussion. 

Gilligan utilized the identical moral problems and scenarios that Kohlberg had used in his research (which he created by testing male volunteers), but observed that girls and women tended to react by concentrating on the relationships of the players in a moral dilemma scenario. 

  • On the other hand, the boys were more concerned with individual rights and the legitimacy of the fictitious situations. 
  • The players in the dilemma were regarded by the boys as autonomous, self-sufficient people who made moral choices solely on the basis of reason. 
  • The girls saw the different characters as interdependent subjects with a sense of community who made moral choices based on both emotion and reason. 
  • In terms of ethics, this implies that the boys tended to see the characters in the problem as acting in accordance with abstract justice ideals. 
  • The characters, according to the girls, operate based on the value of connections and accountability within those ties. 
  • Females who made moral choices in this way were morally immature, whereas males were at a higher level of moral development, according to Kolhberg's six stages of moral growth. 

Instead of being morally immature, Gilligan found that women just made moral choices differently; her results are published in the book In a Different Voice (1982). 

The reason of this variation in moral decision-making has been investigated by subsequent thinkers. 

Some believe that the gender gap is due to patriarchal indoctrination, while others argue that it is due to women's natural ability to care for others. 

Whatever the reason of women's "different voice" in moral decision-making, Gilligan's work has resulted in the "ethics of caring" thesis, which has changed how all moral theorists think about ethics. 

Some care theorists believe that care stems from family connections, particularly the mother-child bond. Others argue that women think in a different manner, which informs a more compassionate approach to all types of decision-making. 

A web analogy is often used by care theorists to show how caring plays a role in moral decision-making. Consider a spider's web. 

  • The many components of the internet are interconnected and dependent on one another. These many components are analogous to the individuals with whom we are associated. 
  • When confronted with a problem, a person does not decide and act on their own. 
  • Rather, that choice considers the many connections one has with others – the majority of whom care about the person as well – and has an impact on these people. 
  • Furthermore, the choice, by its very form and origin, is likely to include the decisions of caring-others. Some relationships are more important to a person than others, much like a spider web. 
  • Most care theorists believe that the most proximal connections contribute more to decision making than the more distant ones, implying that there is an ever-expanding web of ties. 

Some forms of care ethics extend this web of relationships to far people, either via the growing web or by similarities between remote others and those one cares about. 

However, ethics may not necessarily apply to people. 

Some environmental ethicists have discovered that the ethics of care may be applied to organisms other than humans, such as plants, animals, and whole ecosystems. 

The topic of care technique has sparked a lot of controversy and discussion. 

Caring is a highly personal act performed in a specific situation. It seems illogical to establish moral standards based on it.  

As a result, care theorists avoid using principles at all. Rather, they provide standards for caring behavior. 

Among the many guidelines proposed are: 

(1) develop a ‘disposition to care,' which means that a moral agent has an attitude or desire to care; 

(2) act on a duty to ‘care for,' which means that care should be acted on appropriately and in a non-domineering way; 

(3) attend to the caregiver, or make sure that in caring we do not exhaust ourselves or completely lose ourselves in those we care for; 

(4) pay attention to the caregiver, or make sure that in caring we do not in some ways caring as precisely what a patriarchal society expects of women.

Therefore feminists must be careful not to fall into the trap of praising feminine self-sacrifice while attempting to reclaim women's distinct perspectives and contributions. 

The ethics of care, like other normative systems, may be applied to any moral problem. 

Feminists, on the other hand, prefer to emphasize women's experience in creating applications of a caring ethic. 

For example, an ethics of care has been applied to the care of elderly parents, environmental protection, domestic violence, childbirth and other biomedical practices, parent-child relationships, and all of the many decisions that go into raising a child, business situations, and countless other moral situations. 

An ethics of care, for all of its advantages, is not without flaws. 

Some feminist and non-feminist moral theorists reject any rigid separation of justice and caring; the two may and do coexist in various moral systems. 

  • Among feminists, some argue that an ethics of care is modeled on relationships that are perpetually imbalanced, unequal, and frequently unreciprocated: the parent–child relation. 
  • Other critiques center on the caregiver's capacity for self-sacrifice, the misuse of caring, and the potential for caring to become oppressive or dominating. 

Another issue may be that an ethics of caring lacks the capacity for collective political action or a liberation plan. 

Such a critique suggests that care must entail not only the specific relations in which it is evidenced, but must be politicized so as to acknowledge the ramifications of caring action on other relationships as well as oppressive structures.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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

Second Wave Of Feminism - Ethics In A Feminist Context

The definitions and relationships between words such as justice, the good, autonomy, rights, duty, moral actor, and responsibility have been the focus of traditional ethics. 

However, keep in mind that these ideas mostly apply to people acting as moral agents on their own. 

Feminist ethicists examine these and related ideas, frequently altering them to include feminist understanding, but they also include problems about ethical agent interactions as well as gender-based societal duties and expectations. 

Normative moral theory, whether conventional, feminist, or non-feminist, is tasked with dictating conduct. 

  • The goal of a moral theory is to offer action-guiding principles to the moral actor or agent that encompass both positive and negative obligations, i.e., what should be done and what should not be done. 
  • The extra necessity of including women's experience is accepted by feminist normative moral theory. 

Feminism offers a fresh perspective on the human person as an ethical agent, a new method to engage in or conduct human activities, and a new way to think about what is the topic of ethical discourse, all while trying to achieve justice for women. 

  • In order to be more inclusive of some of the elements that define women's lives, a feminist ethics would likely question or alter how we interpret "autonomy" or "justice." 
  • When we think of autonomy as an isolated person making choices exclusively for himself or herself, we miss out on how connections influence decision-making. 
  • Autonomy may be modified to incorporate that relational element, or it could be replaced with a more flexible, shared notion. 
  • Similarly, in reaction to the awareness of human linkages – particularly among the most vulnerable among us, such as children – justice may be converted from abstract fairness to tangible social justice. In feminist moral theories, community plays an important role. 

The awareness of the link between what occurs on the local level and what happens on the global level is essential in a feminist perspective. 

As a result, defining what constitutes community becomes a meta-ethical issue. 

  • To begin with, community serves as a forum for identity development and is an essential component of complete self-determination. 
    • Individuals engage in a number of communities, creating or defining them in the process, and these communities, in turn, contribute to the individual's identity. 
    • As a result, a moral theory must account for both the person and the social groups/communities to which they belong. 

  • Community boundaries denote the kind of connection and consequent duty that many feminist moral theories employ to guide behavior. 
    • Community may be defined by people's closeness, geography, common interests, or even physical characteristics. 
    • For feminist ethics, there is no one moral actor or isolated person. In two ways, feminist moral theory prioritizes experience. T
    • he first is that moral theory and moral problems emerge as a result of particular men and women's circumstances. 

Some feminist ethicists focus on women's experiences, while others highlight all those who have been marginalized by conventional moral theory or otherwise excluded from the "norm." 

  • Others argue that, in order to properly address experienced reality, conventional moral theory should utilize actual rather than hypothetical experience. 
  • The point is that theory is guided by real-life experience rather than attempting to define what constitutes acceptable moral speech. 

Feminist ethics acknowledges that philosophy is rooted in a specific socio-historical setting. 

  • Recognizing this allows us to face our prejudices and objectively examine the consequences of a certain hypothesis. 
  • As a result, as time passes, our moral theory may need to evolve. 
  • It also has a connection to the following meta-ethical topic, identity and difference, in that cultural differences have a significant influence in both moral theory and practical ethics. 

Traditional ethics has most blatantly failed women by neglecting to recognize or account for women's concerns. 

  • Women's issues were not regarded to be intellectually interesting or deserving of further consideration. 
  • Women's moral action was limited to the home and controlled by nature or instinct, according to most conventional or canonical interpretations of ethics. 

Public opinion, taste, and the pursuit of beauty were sometimes acknowledged as factors in women's decision-making, but they were conspicuously missing from the praiseworthy kinds of moral decision-making described in canonical writings. 

Furthermore, some feminists have criticized conventional moral philosophy for being too focused on a rationality that ignores emotion. 

The labor women perform and the responsibilities they assume in society should be taken into consideration in philosophical formulations of ethics, regardless of whether these issues are socially created based on gender roles or biologically established. 

The main goal of man, according to some of the most famous classical moral thinkers like Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, is to become more perfect as a citizen, whereas the principle aim of woman is to become more perfect as a wife. 

  • She was not seen as a moral actor in her own right, but rather as the moral agent of her husband or father. 
  • It's not surprising that the first significant efforts to define a feminist ethics in the Western liberal tradition centered on affirming a woman's complete personality and the development of universal virtue rather than a male or female virtue. 
  • Moral virtue was not gender specific, according to Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, and Harriet Taylor Mill. 
  • Women have been assigned to a certain social function (wife and mother), but their ethical responsibilities should be established in the same way that men's are.

 A somewhat different approach is used by second wave feminist ethics. 

  • Rather than accepting the masculine as the norm and arguing that women are capable of fulfilling it, second-wave feminists looked for new ethical sources that were inclusive of women and their concerns. 
  • Traditional ethics and politics, for example, placed a greater emphasis on the capacity to take life in battle than on the ability to give life via birth. 
  • Recognizing the one-of-a-kind ability to give birth alters how values are valued and decisions are made. 

Of course, there is a distinction to be made between a feminine and a feminist ethic. 

  • A feminine ethic is one that is based on the unique "feminine" qualities that women are believed to have. 
  • These traits or attributes are usually regarded as a product of nature - part of the essence of being female – and may be used to support an argument that women are ‘more moral' than males, according to feminine ethics. 
  • For example, a feminine ethics may claim that women are naturally more tranquil since they give birth to children. 
  • This may lead to a slew of related conclusions regarding the social and political roles that women can and should play. 
  • Similarly, it's possible that being able to give birth makes women more caring. 
  • Rather than or in addition to fairness or justice, an ethics based on women's nurturing ability would stress loving connections. 

This approach is classified as a "ethics of care," although few care theorists believe that there is anything inherent in women that causes them to be more compassionate. 

Depending on how the theorist explains the origins of the caring disposition, the ethics of care may be either feminine or feminist. 

Feminists must create ethics based on the belief that women's subordination is morally wrong and that women's moral experiences are deserving of respect. 

Feminist ethics is uniquely positioned to connect theory and practice, thinking and action. 

  • A feminist ethics would not only provide advice in moral circumstances, but would also be guided by them. 
  • The technique and substance of a feminist moral theory are both feminist. 
  • Though a theory may concentrate on one or the other, they are neither distinct or separable.

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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

Second Wave Of Feminism - Psychological Oppression Of Women

Psychological oppression is a term used to describe the state of being oppressed. According to Sandra Lee Bartky, women's oppression infiltrates one's mind, resulting in "psychological oppression." 

She demonstrates how, 

  1. stereotypes, 
  2. societal dominance, 
  3. and sexual objectification 

...divide and mystify women. Internalization of oppression affects a person's awareness, cognition, and knowledge, according to various feminists and oppression theorists. 

Bartky exemplifies this trend in oppression studies and catches a lot of insight from feminist attempts to broaden the definition of oppression and therefore broaden the scope of what is needed for liberation. 

1. Stereotypes are generalizations about a certain group of people. Individuals who are labeled as members of a group may have nothing in common with the stereotype, yet they are nevertheless evaluated and judged by it. 

  • Stereotypes, fragment women by reducing them to pieces. 
  • One woman is reduced to being a wife rather than a person with a diverse range of interests and activities, while another is reduced to being a prostitute without knowing her motivations or what led her to that career. 
  • Stereotypes restrict a person's potential and become internalized to the point that a woman limited to being a wife evaluates her self-esteem only in terms of that aspect of herself. Stereotypes, in a similar manner, are perplexing. 
  • Mystification occurs when a person starts to think that the stereotype is normal; reality is jumbled up with repressive psychological signals. 
  • So, in the instances above, the wife or prostitute learns to think that she gets her position because she was born to it or for other self-deprecating reason. 

2. Societal Dominance: Cultural dominance is analogous to the culture/nature dichotomy described previously, but instead of identifying women with the natural, cultural domination diminishes women's cultural contributions and removes them from the main areas of cultural creation. 

Here, too, there is fragmentation and mystification. 

  • Language, art, cultural institutions such as colleges, and literature, are all sexist. 
  • Language is a good illustration of this. When the gender of the noun is unclear, it is possible to internalize the use of the masculine pronoun. 
  • Girls who hear about firefighters and mailmen as children, or who hear physicians referred to as "he," may not believe that such occupations are available to them. 

However, the argument extends beyond these simple instances. 

  • She demonstrates how culture not only reflects sexist beliefs or attitudes, but also actively supports and preserves women's and other disadvantaged groups' exclusion or marginalization. 
  • Women are cut off from cultural contributions because their works are regarded craft rather than art, their writings are ignored in university curricula, and their literature with women-centered or feminist topics is judged insufficiently rigorous for cultural norms. 
  • As women accept these evaluations of their cultural contributions, they become mystified, thinking that women are unable to achieve on par with males. 

3. Sexual objectification is the third kind of psychological oppression. 

  • When a person is made into an object for sexual reasons, it is known as sexual objectification. 
  • For just this reason, feminist movement has targeted beauty pageants
  • The sexual components or talents of a woman are objectified for utilitarian reasons.
  • A woman is transformed into a womb or a cunt
  • She is reduced to and represented by her sexual parts
  • That is fragmentation in and of itself resulting in a Lifetime of Sexual Slavery and Reproductive Servitude

Because she internalizes the objectification and thinks she is nothing more than a sexual object for men to exploit, mystification adds to the psychological oppression. 


Feminists are often portrayed as "bra burners." 

This misconception stems from a feminist protest against the Miss America Beauty Pageant in 1968. 

Bras, girdles, pots, pornography, and other "instruments of female torment" were thrown into a "Freedom Trash Can" by activists. 

Nothing was destroyed, even the bras! 

Psychological oppression has varied effects on different types of women. 

  • Some women have a higher social standing and can transcend some of the mystification, even though they are still fractured by others' gaze. 
  • Other kinds of oppression often interact with sexism, causing other forms of stereotypes and sexual objectifications to mix with or overwhelm sexist preconceptions. 

Internalized or psychological oppression, on the other hand, is a powerful force in the lives of oppressed peoples, and liberation tactics must have some means to combat it. 

~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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