Is Feminism Harmful





PART B- IS FEMINISM A HARMFUL IDEOLOGY?
Describe two central moral issues.
In Issue 4, "Is Feminism a Harmful Ideology?" I believe that the two central moral issues to this debate are as follows :
(1) Is it immoral to infringe upon individual liberty (even if some other good can come of it)?
(2) Is it immoral to discriminate based on sex (even if there are innate differences, which are relevant to the situation)?
What makes these distinctly moral issues, as opposed to legal, religious, or socio-political issues?
These are distinctly moral issues for a few reasons. First, answers to these questions require normative statements (yes it is immoral, or no it isn\'t immoral to infringe…) which express value judgements. These statements can not be supported by empirical evidence. In other words, they are not subject to verification by running experiments, or through observation. Second, these answers define standards of human conduct, which apply equally to everyone (as opposed to, for example, men under the age of 21 who live in Tanzania). Lastly, these judgements for the most part are, as the course guide vaguely puts it, "not laid down by authoritative bodies" (pg.1-3) .
What is the "liberal" position concerning the enforcement of morality? The liberal position concerning the enforcement of morals holds freedom as the most important value in cases of victimless crime. The liberal believes that it is cruel and unjust for authoritative bodies to enforce community moral standards for victimless crime because of the necessary restraint it puts on individual civil liberties.
Normative Ethics:
Normative ethics is a branch of ethics which attempts to illuminate how humans should live their lives, and more specifically how to make moral decisions concerning oneself and others, according to certain sets of values. The following moral theories are components of normative ethics.
Application of moral theories to "Feminism and Freedom"
Act Utilitarianism:
Act utilitarianism judges the morality of an act according to how much utility it produces. In this case, utility refers to an end or consequence. A morally sound act has utility, meaning that its end is a positive one. The act that produces the most happiness is considered the morally right one.
An act utilitarian who believes that feminism is a harmful ideology might argue that yielding to feminist\'s beliefs would produce less happiness than rejecting them. S/he may argue that forcing "equality" by, for example, requiring fire departments to establish less demanding physical examinations for women, or requiring corporations to exercise gender quotas may cause more unhappiness. Taken another step, if a fire-fighter\'s effectiveness rests to a certain extent on his physical strength, then would it be so far-fetched to suggest that inevitably lives will be lost because of the inability of certain fire-women to carry an unconscious person up from the basement of a burning house? According to this reason, an act utilitarian may view feminism as a harmful ideology.
Rule Utilitarianism:
A rule utilitarian seeks underlying moral rules of particular acts, and judges their morality by finding which rules produce the most utility. In the issue of whether feminism is a harmful ideology or not, a rule utilitarian would find the underlying moral rules on each side of the debate. S/he may feel that the underlying moral rules in Michael Levin\'s "Feminism and Freedom" are:
-One should not infringe upon individual liberty
-One should not discriminate based on sex
The rule utilitarian may feel that there is more utility to be gained by following the first rule. This is a value judgement that may not be held by all rule utilitarians, but in this particular utilitarian\'s view, it is the rule that produces the most happiness.
Kantian View:
The Kantian theory of ethics maintains that there is a universal moral principle of duty. The moral duty performed is what is judged, not the consequence of carrying out the duty. For example, a Kantian theorist may believe that stealing is wrong. For him/her, this is a categorical imperative to be followed at all times by everyone; even if what is being stolen is a piece of bread to feed a starving child.
Kantian theory applied to the question of feminism may produce the view that securing individual freedom is the most important value, and since feminism infringes upon freedom, it is the Kantian\'s duty to stand up for individual freedom by rejecting