If you want to get to the feminist stuff, go to paragraph four. To set the scene for those skipping, all of this comes from my college Ethics textbook.
I HATE my Ethics textbook (I’m taking this class in college because I needed to take a philosophy class and it was either this or “Death and Dying”). First off, it admits up front that it’s actually pushing a certain moral system on us. I’m not even kidding! This is a textbook, not a defense of a moral system! This makes the book amount to basically a giant Apologetics book as it seeks to go through objections of other moral systems to push its own. And it is so bad. Here is its rejection of Natural Law Theory (the whole thing takes two paragraphs):
[After discussing objections of homosexuality as being against the laws of nature]: If however, we examine all aspects of nature, we discover that heterosexuality is not the only type of sexuality that occurs in nature….
Stop. Right there. What the Hell does that have to do with anything? We’re not talking about other animals. We’re talking about what humans should be doing. What an idiotic statement from a textbook.
But to the feminist stuff. Carol Gilligan, a philosopher, came up with a theory known sometimes as “feminist ethics”. I actually think it makes sense. Basically, what she’s saying is that men’s views on ethics have to do with justice, rights, competition, being independent, and living by rules whereas women’s ethical views have to do with generosity, harmony, reconciliation, and working to maintain close relationships.
This makes sense, and the book spends a little bit of time discussing this theory and how she tested it. Fine. Now let’s look at the objections:
Some critics think that by accepting Gilligan’s theory one might be raising so-called female values far above male values and replacing one unfair ethical system with another.
- How is this, in any way, an objection? It’s just an uncomfortable conclusion.
- How the Hell are women’s values raised above men’s? I don’t see it.
But wait! There’s more!
Also, if one says women are more caring and compassionate, are we not pushing them back to where they were before Gilligan? Men (and women) might say that since women can’t understand justice then we can’t use them in the outside world and and they should return to homemaking duties, and if a certain job calls for caring qualities then men can’t be hired because they are not good at caring. Therefore…[Gilligan] may be setting up new categories that could result in excluding women from traditionally men’s jobs…and men from women’s jobs. …Critics say that Gilligan has disrupted the philosophy of gender equality [Uhhhhh…duh?] so that a company…won’t hire a woman for a [legal] job because she has no real sense of justice. In this way her…theory of gender may move from describing gender equality to prescribing a set of rules about who ought to do what jobs.
Do you get what was said there? There is no actual objection to her theory in that entire paragraph! All they did was point out uncomfortable conclusions of her theory and act as if that somehow made it false. We might have to accept (Gasp!) gender roles if her theory is true! Oh no! Why, we might even have to conclude that men are better at certain jobs than women and vice versa!
In fact maybe, just maybe, if we accept that men have a stronger sense of justice, rights, and living by rules that they might make better leaders! What will we ever do! And…if they’re leaders…wouldn’t women have to submit under their leadership? We might even have to follow the Bible!
Do you see how this works? Their idea of an objection to the concept of gender roles is stamping their foot and yelling “NO FAIR!!!”.
Holy shit, I hate this book So. Damn. Much.