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intersectionality & respect for cultures. Feminism, Lecture 9, 14/3/14. introduction. What does Feminism say about women facing severe disadvantages in other cultures due to their cultures? Arguments against speaking up or doing anything about such disadvantages/Better ways of speaking up

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intersectionality respect for cultures
intersectionality & respect for cultures

Feminism, Lecture 9, 14/3/14

introduction
introduction
  • What does Feminism say about women facing severe disadvantages in other cultures due to their cultures?
    • Arguments against speaking up or doing anything about such disadvantages/Better ways of speaking up
  • Intersectional Feminism
    • Practical and Theoretical Implications
    • Must all feminism be intersectional?
the problem
the problem
  • The practices of many non-traditionally Western cultures seriously harm women
  • For any such practice we can
  • Speak out and try to end this practice (DO SOMETHING)
  • Withhold judgment, not speak out, not act (DO NOTHING)
arguments for doing nothing
arguments for doing nothing
  • Cultural Relativism is true and cultural relativism entails that we should do nothing
  • The problems with doing something are so serious that we should do nothing
cultural relativism
cultural relativism
  • Cultural Relativism: The wrongness of an action or practice is determined by (is relative to) the standards of the culture in which it is a practice or is performed.
  • Problem: if this is the case, then it is not wrong for us to impose the ideas that our culture says that it is not wrong to live up to
  • Response: Liberal cultures tolerate other cultures
problems for cultural relativism
problems for cultural relativism
  • Internal Diversity
  • Change Over Time
    • So it does not make sense to hold that a particular policy is the one that respect for a culture calls for
  • But: The policy that there is most support for within a culture and/or has been prevalent
  • Response: This would entail that we should support the death penalty and letting many rapists go free in our culture
problems for cultural relativism1
problems for cultural relativism
  • An individual speaker- or judger-relative relativism is implausible & has implausible (& anti-feminist) conclusions.
  • The most plausible form of cultural relativism doesn’t tell us to do nothing
  • Response: Eradicating inegalitarian treatment of women will eradicate cultures

Intuitive Arguments Against Relativism

  • Hunger Games culture
problems with doing something
problems with doing something
  • Errors in analysis of customs
problems with doing something1
problems with doing something
  • Errors in analysis of customs
  • History of Imperialism and Colonialism
  • Negative Effects of Western judgments
    • Made women’s treatment seen to be emblematic of the colonized cultures, for those of the colonized cultures
    • Some seeking independence and respect from the West made sudden changes to the lives of women
problems with doing something2
problems with doing something
  • We ought to only criticize the practices of another culture if we are either (a) to be similarly critical of our own culture or (b) have already eliminated similar evils from our own culture
  • But feminists do (a) and (b) is false (Genocide, apartheid)
problems with doing nothing
problems with doing nothing
  • Impossible: Cultures within one country/our country
  • Impossible: We have relationships with other countries
  • Intuitively implausible
better ways of doing something1
better ways of doing something
  • Recognise the distinctions, diversity, and changing nature of cultures
  • This means not speaking out against things that don’t need to be spoken out against
  • Recognise that speaking out & intervening can be counter-productive
  • Listen!
dialogue as a solution
dialogue as a solution
  • One member of a country does not adequately represent that country - due to the cultural complexity of a country
    • Amplification not representation.
  • Dialogue should be a two-way somewhat reciprocal process
  • We should not be non-critical of non-westerners
  • Caution and Humility
what should we speak out against
what should we speak out against?
  • Cultures that don’t give women a choice vs those that do give women choices?
    • But even where there is choice there are norms and biases and effects on the basis of these norms and biases
  • Only practices that women in that culture speak out against
    • But Adaptive Preferences: preferences that people have because of their dire circumstances
  • Nussbaum: women must have a set of basic capabilities to function
slide18
fgm
  • Objections to Feminist opposition to FGM:
    • FGM is on a par with practices of dieting and body shaping in Western culture
    • FGM involves the loss of a capacity that may not be especially central to the lives in question and to which Westerners give disproproportionate significance
intersectional feminism1
intersectional feminism
  • What is Intersectional Feminism?
    • Different experiences at different intersections
    • These different experiences are not just the combination of these experiences
    • Feminism involves responding to the concerns of all women and fighting for the needs of all women
  • Implications
    • Practical
    • Theoretical
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Class
  • Disability
practical intersectional feminism
practical intersectional feminism
  • Acknowledges that Women are not the most or most fundamentally oppressed group
  • Does not erase or marginalise the voices of oppressed groups of women
  • Addresses the concerns of all women not just white middle class women
  • Listening to other cultures
practical feminism that is not intersectional
practical feminism that is not intersectional
  • Rape crisis centres and refuges that refuse to work with sex workers and trans women
  • Banknote Feminism/CEO Feminism/Trickle Down Feminism
  • Movements and campaigns that do not respond to the pressing needs of women
  • Movements that do not react attentively to critiques of them by disadvantaged groups
arguments against intersectional feminism
arguments against intersectional feminism
  • Entails that no one should say anything
    • Response: Just entails that white middle class feminists should take objections from disadvantaged/oppressed groups on board
  • Better to do something than nothing: non-intersectional feminists still do things that benefit women
    • Response: Do not benefit women!/Tokenistic/Perpetuate Discrimination
  • Self-defeating: Don’t intersectional feminists speak on behalf of disadvantaged groups?
    • Normally no
  • ‘All feminism must be intersectional or bullshit’ entails that suffragism was bullshit feminism
theoretical intersectional feminism
theoretical intersectional feminism
  • Practical concerns entail that there is a category of being a woman
  • Not oversimplifying and overgeneralising the phenomena of being a woman based on white able-bodied middle class experience
  • The category of being a women must apply to all possible and imaginable women
  • Women must be able to recognise themselves in the analysis of womenness
  • The analysis of womanness must link to the real world and problems for real women?
  • Explains why womanness intersects with what it intersects with
theoretical implications of intersectionality
theoretical implications of intersectionality
  • Haslanger’s Account: S is a woman iff S is systematically subordinated along some dimension (economic, political, legal, social, etc.) and S is “marked” as a target for this treatment by observed or imagined bodily features presumed to be evidence of a female’s biological role in reproduction
    • Race is understood as privelege or disadvantage in virtue of observed or imagined bodily features presumed to be evidence of ancestral links to a certain geographical region
  • Intersectional Advantage: Explains how and why gender and race intersect in the way they do [or does it?]
  • Intersectional Advantage: Oriented towards practical purposes
  • Can women recognise themselves in it?
  • Can it make sense of all intersections? (indigenous Australian male for instance)
  • Cannot account for all possible and imaginable women
theoretical intersectional feminism1
theoretical intersectional feminism
  • Zack’s Account:
    • Women are people who have a relation to category FMP
    • FMP (Females, Mothers, Primary sexual choices) is the category of being designated female from birth, biological mothers, or primary sexual choices of heterosexual men
    • Women are related to FMP either by self-identifying with it or by assignment to it
  • What is it to be designated female? Is the account unilluminating?
  • Do trans-women identify as primary sexual choices of heterosexual men?
  • Does being designated a woman make one more of a woman than those who are not designated a woman?
  • Does this account illuminate intersectionality? Is this account practically advantageous?
summary
summary
  • Respect for others cultures and intersectionality
    • We should speak out with disadvantaged women in all places but not impose on them, marginalise them, or erase their voices
  • Defended the view that we should speak out against awful treatment of women in other cultures - but carefully
  • Defended the view that feminism should be intersectional