Feminist ethics is founded on efforts to reformulate and rewrite conventional ethics to the point that women’s moral knowledge is devalued or marginalized. Feminism, on the other hand, refers to the political ideas that promote gender equality and the status of women in modern society. Feminist social and political ideologies emerged from feminist ethics and women’s movements, which were first established (DesAutels 132). One of the female philosophers was Alison Jaggar. Traditional ethics, she argued, was less concerned with women’s issues and interests. Its long-established principles and values, however, viewed moral issues that regarded women as trivial thereby focusing on the realm in which women were responsible for taking care of their families and carried on with the house chores. Moreover, Alison Jaggar opposed the argument postulated by the traditional philosophy that women are less morally mature compared to men.
Notable Aspects of Feministic Ethics
Philosophical feminism outlines the gender role in the formation of cultural practices and other non-traditional theoretical problems. For instance, Carol Gilligan’s contribution to care ethics influenced the shift and focused on ethics. Feminism determines the role of women as well as right for gender equality and the formation of social relationships in the society (Caswell 68). The notable key aspects of feministic ethics include:
Care, Empathy and Affection
It emphasizes the necessity to meet other people’s needs and desires before satisfying your own. It also highlights the significance of moral theory in relationships and dependencies in life. Care ethics promote the care-givers’ and care-receivers’ well-being.
Feministic moral principles and values are focused on the importance of relationships and special ties in explaining traditional ethics, culture, gender-based roles and obligations, and feminism. Moreover, individuals may assign different moral responsibilities to different people depending on the nature of their relationships.
Feminist ethics accentuate the unique nature of moral decisions and how culture influences the process of moral decision making. Moreover, it outlines the unique and specific essence of each moral resolution.
Connections between Historical-Cultural Context of Feministic Ethics and Current Historical-Cultural Context in 21st Century America
The advent of feminism and feminist ethics was marked by increased feminist activities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially in the USA and the UK, which was aimed at advocating for equality in contract and property rights for women. Moreover, the issues of women suffrage and political power were also witnessed. Today, however, sexual, reproductive, economic rights are the key focus of feminist ethics and feminism.
Based on the traditional ideals, culture and norms tried to separate moral concerns that tend to influence the thinking and behavior of women both in private and public aspects. Feminist ethics, however, view and analyze issues at individual and community levels from a woman-centered and feminist approach thereby responding to moral theory, particularly communitarianism and liberalism (Caswell 68). Therefore, culture relates to the feministic ethics due to its influence on political philosophy and traditional principles and values.
According to DesAutels (128), men construct their identity by trying to differentiate themselves from others, while women strive to construct their relationships with others. Although feminist ethics tend to contradict the traditional cultural practices, the two intersect at some point, however, having a more dynamic relationship.
In the contemporary society, culture recognizes women and advocate for their involvement in various, initially perceived as male-dominated, activities. Feminism is responding to the portrayal of women in the contemporary society. Its philosophers criticized both the negative characterization of women and their historical exclusion from philosophical traditions in the past (Garry and Marilyn 171). Such actions have been changing the female position in a cultural perspective while altering the fundamental norms and objectivity of philosophical reasoning. Currently, the society evaluates the cultural conventions and considers the need to include women in the philosophical reasons and practices defining gender roles in the community.
Caswell, Michelle. “From Human Rights to Feminist Ethics: Radical Empathy in Archives.” Archivaria, no. 80, 2016, pp. 36-121.
DesAutels, Peggy. “Feminist Ethics and Neuroethics.” Handbook of Neuroethics. Netherlands: Springer, 2015. 1421-1434.
Garry, Ann, and Marilyn Pearsall. Women, knowledge, and reality: Explorations in feminist philosophy. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2015.