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读书笔记 2. Liberalism and beyond: mainstream feminism in the mid-nineteenth century

19C, "reformist", diversity, a complex movement

Feminism in the US: Maria Stewart and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Evangenlical Christianity and the temperance and anti-slavery movements

-- Stewart

religious revivalism......the moral regeneration of her community that would demonstrate its worthiness and entitlement to equal rights and respect
Temperance campaigners......women who were on the receiving end of male drunknness should have legal protection and the opportunity to escape from a violent marriage

-- Santon


the marginalisation of black women was built into the white feminist claim that women’s situation was analogous to that of slaves or black men, as this forgot the specific situation of black and slave women.
For many women, black and white, it was the hostility of men to their involvement in the anti-slavery campaign that pushed them in a feminist direction


The Seneca Falls Convention

the Declaration of Sentiments and the Resolutions......the principles of liberal republicanism
......liberal feminism......contradictions......

1). male supporters?

although we find a recognition of male rule which would not seem out of place in a recent radical feminist account of patriarchy......this was coupled with an assumption that, by appealing to principles of reason and justice, women and men could work together to change the law and abolish male tyranny.......Stanton......suspicious of male support

2). domestic inequality?

to demand rights for women as individuals on the same basis as men is to ignore the fact that their domestic situation prevents full exercise of these rights......this private oppression could negate the achievements of public equality

3). the value of domesticity?

the male world of politics and paid employment is a source of fulfilment and ‘republican virtue’ in a way that women’s domestic sphere is not, so that women can only realise their human potential when they enter the public sphere.
it is difficult to combine respect for domesticity with the liberal elevation of mental over bodily activity – from which perspective all manual and physical work is inferior to a life of rea- son, and the activities of the middle-class white male are seen as the most truly ‘human’.
Stewart......education......Stanton......motherhood to be a source both of great satisfaction and of intense frustration......in general......public life is both more fulfilling and more important thna the domestic sphere


......as a practical means of improving women's daily lives......not that these feminists believed that private oppression could be simply legislated away......a woman trapped in a violent marriage would be better if she had the legal right to leave her husband and to achieve economic independence


The analysis of sexual and personal oppression

an oppressive sexual morality
by which delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated, but deemed of little account in man
abortion......prostitution......a fear of rape......intimate relationships......private life was seen as an arena in which power is both exercised and can be challenged

Education, religion and The Woman's Bible (Stanton)

Class, 'race' and feminism

the needs of black women were seldom publicly recognized, let alone addressed

The difference/equality debate

American feminists were abandoning equal rights arguments for ......a view of natural difference that could also encompass ideas of racial inequality
'womanly values' of purity, temperance and peace find expression in affairs of state

==> Stanton's approach restricted by liberal premises......combination of radicalism and conservatism


Feminism in Britain and Mill's Subjection of Women

The spread of feminist ideas

mid-19C diverse, contradictory

Mill's argument

1). reason

an extension to women of the Enlightenment belief that an institution can be defended only if it is in accordance with reason

2). difference

In general, he saw logical and intuitive thought as complementary rather than antagonistic; this means that the ideal partnership between man and woman was one of ‘reciprocal superiority’
......he saw the sexes as playing very different roles in society--roles which largely conformed to the ideology of separate spheres
women were entitled to civil and political rights, but that married women should stay at home and that ‘the best and noblest of women will always find their greatest delight in the cultivation of domestic virtues’

Mill and utilitarianism

defending gender equality on the basis that

1). the pool of talent available to society would be doubled, with obvious benefits for social prosperity and progress
2). political life would improve as the family became the real school of the virtues of freedom
3). the character of both men and women would improve
4). population control

==> general assumption: human pleasures are interconnected

there was no place in his thought for the possibility that the interests of one group or class in society could clash irrevocably with another; a harmonious society was, he believed, in the interests of all


The 'animal instinct' of sex

all pleasures are not equal, but that some are clearly superior to others
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