Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Thoughts on Feminism
Feminism, or the equality of women to men, is an important thing to address in society. Some philosophers such as John Stuart Mill (in Subjection of Women) and Plato (who thought women could be philosopher kings) advocate the equal status of women. However, there are numerous philosophers that see women as "lesser" beings (e.g. Sartre, Nietzsche).
Those particular philosophers that view women as inferior miss an important point of reasoning. A lot of times, they criticize women's ability to judge situations, claiming that their emotions get in the way of contemplation. This seems like an attributive error; it is a generality that is based on chauvinism and a complete disregard for logical thinking. It does seem correct that women are indeed more emotional in their thinking for evolutionary reasons. Although, this does not mean that all women blindly accept their emotions as sound logical reasoning. A female student of philosophy or mathematics can more easily spot their critical biases than a male student that is trained in anthropology. So, it looks as if the notion that women are too emotional does not always stand when one looks at individuals.
I must admit, to my initial dismay, that there is a group of ethicists that believe moral intuitions are possible through the emotional medium. Hard proponents of this school of thought (care ethics) assert that the emotions are the only way to determine moral worth. These thinkers reduce the trained faculties of a logical mind to mere pettiness, as if there were no other thing as revealing as the emotions. Of course, more moderate care ethi
cists take feelings into account with a less radical agenda.
I do think, back to the main task at hand, that the term feminism carries negative connotations. When people hear the word, it evokes different meanings for different people. Many times, I have heard people say that feminism is just a term for "dykes who want to live in sexual immorality." Other times, I have heard people say that it "is the view of radical women who want to dominate masculinity." These connotations cause the utmost harm to the true agenda of the feminist: to speak out and fight for the equal rights of women. The term must arise out of the abyss of repugnance. Once this is accomplished, it will contribute to the openness to freedoms.
There is a great importance of feminism in philosophy as well: metaphysics can take on an identity never before imagined. How much more insight will be gained if we further consider the views of half of the world's population? I find that idea exciting.