3 thoughts on “And now many women in France will avoid leaving the house

  1. Yes, I share the worry expressed in the title of this post.

    At the same time, I would resist a view that I thought a person could take to be suggested by the post itself (whether or not intended by Jender). That view is that feminist philosophers should accept uncritically women’s (and men’s) own explanations for their participation in cultural norms, cultural norms that others have (not incredibly) claimed are oppressive.

  2. Copperboom: I think it’s undeniable that the issue you raise is historically important. But I feel like there has been something of a big picture consensus on this one lately in feminist circles: namely that people can be wrong about their own explanations for their participation in (potentially oppressive) cultural norms, but that those explanations should be keenly listened to and afforded a great deal of space and some initial presumption of accuracy.

    I mean, to make it more concrete, I think just about everyone thinks Femen violates this consensus.

  3. I agree that when we notice practices of another culture that seem to be oppressive, we ought to listen to the explanations of those who are part of that culture before we jump to conclusions. However, I don’t think those explanations carry any more or less weight than anyone else’s; it’s simply that to draw any educated conclusion we should strive to carefully understand what is going on from the perspective of others who know more about it than we do. I am also wary of any attempt to judge the merits of a policy solely by one set of practical effects on one sub-set of persons affected. Some women may no longer leave the house; other women may be significantly liberated by the ban. But the question of whether the ban is a good idea cannot be settled by that criterion alone. If nothing else, we would need some mechanism for determining whose liberation, safety, or comfort is more important or greater in quality or quantity than others, and that inquiry leads to a dead end of impossible comparisons.

Comments are closed.