Feminism used to be about equality in business and the political worlds. Then it was about who was morally better, women or men. Then it was about being blurring gender lines.
While the different forms of Feminism were slugging it out, we also had the inter-feminine wars: the stay-at-home moms and the career moms. Currently, a cease-fire exists where we seem to be trying to form an alliance. Sadly, that common ground seems to center around a woman’s sexuality. No longer does it matter whether you make a career choice or stayed at home. We are women, damn it! We are all sisters in the same fight against aging – and we can prove it by our gym passes and our lingerie!
At the present moment, Feminism is focused on power-Feminism with the aim of destroying the “Patriarchy.” But suppose what we call the “Patriarchy” is the social construct we need to make the right changes to our system? What if what we have today is built on hundreds of years of Western philosophical thought and progress? What if it’s this development, which have allowed women the greatest amount of equality and autonomy in human history, is one of the end products of that heritage? What happens if we tear it down?
On the other side, many people believe the female emancipation effort has reached its end. However, I believe we are still in the process of coming to grips with so many new options for men and women. That change can largely be credited to the political movements launched by women which gave us the vote and financial independence. At the same time, advances in science and technology have freed women (and men) from time-consuming domestic tasks. Our lives are changing with new technology giving us new moral and ethical challenges. DNA testing and surrogate mothers are such recent advancements that we are still in the early stages of understanding how they affect the social dynamics of family life.
So, are women still second-sex citizens as many power-feminists claim today? Or does it mean they are exercising their options in favor of non-power roles? Do women and men have differing moralities? If so, is one superior to the other?
I believe that all human beings share enough things in common, simply from being human, that a common philosophy of life is possible. This, in turn, leads to a common ethic. However, there are choices, options and situations that are new to the human race (or are changing). Many are not gender neutral and must be addressed separately by a Feminine ethic and a Masculine ethic.
I have no desire to return to the pre-feminist days when women were relegated to the bedroom and the kitchen, but I think it’s premature to call for a movement to “bring down the Patriarchy” at all costs. That is not liberation and, worse, it could turn out to be cultural suicide.