Feminism Vs Feminism

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From the nineteenth century onwards, liberal feminists have regarded justice as involving equal rights for women and men and their great achievement has been to gain acceptance for the claim that there is no good reason to exclude people from basic civil, political, social and economic rights on the basis of gender and, more recently, that political and economic arrangements which disproportionately disadvantage women are unacceptable. The liberal feminist's goal is equal rights — the same rights for men and women - so that gender is simply irrelevant in the distribution of benefits and burdens. More radical feminists have gone on to question the content of the rights accepted as basic in a patriarchal or male-oriented society which they regard as biased towards male interests and concerns. The equal rights approach is insufficient if the rights in question are rights which protect primarily male interests. Feminists in general question, for instance, the exclusion of the 'private' world of family and employment from evaluation in terms of justice and equality. They also question the recurrent and characteristically liberal endeavor to separate 'the right' from `the good', or deontological from consequentialist ethics, or norms from values, dichotomies which, in feminist theory, emerge in the context of the public and the private worlds, with men, drawing on an ideology of impersonal and neutral justice, dominating in the public sphere and patriarchal 'benevolence' prevailing in the so-called private world of family, friendship and employment. These are major themes in contemporary theories of justice, the implications of which are still to be worked out (see Pateman, 1988). Contemporary feminist thought has been extended to inclu... ... middle of paper ... ...ormal common good, namely, a working legal apparatus that enforces contracts and protects individuals from undue interference by others” (52). One of the problems with the ethics of justice, she says, is that the rules of justice, at least as understood in a liberal sense, “do little to protect the young or the dying or the starving or any of the relatively powerless against neglect, or to ensure an education that will form persons to be capable of conforming to an ethics of care and responsibility” (55). Feminist themes are also pertinent to the doubts which we have cast on the claim that justice is unquestionably the overriding considerations, even if only in the public domain. Indeed the radical feminist emphasis on the priority of caring can be seen as an endorsement of the thesis that humanity should often trump justice, rather than vice-versa (see Held, 1995).
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