- Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simone Webb
Introduction: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is established in the popular imagination as the “first feminist,” but another philosopher provided a systematic analysis of women’s subjugated condition and a call for female education nearly a century before Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). Mary Astell’s (1666-1731) A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, for the Advancement of their True and Greatest Interest by a Lover of Her Sex, Parts I and II (1694, 1697) is a philosophical text that argues that women are in an inferior moral condition compared to men, analyses the causes of this problem, and presents a two-part remedy.
Comment: This is a 1000-word introductory article to Mary Astell’s feminist thought as expressed in her philosophical treatise A Serious Proposal to the Ladies. It would work well as pre-class reading, or a very basic introduction to the study of the history of feminist thought or women in early modern philosophy.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
- Added by: Hans Maes, Contributed by:
Summary: The gender of both artist and sitter needs to be taken into account when considering the history of portraiture. Explores how and why women were often portrayed in certain roles (as goddesses, historical or religious figures, allegorical embodiments of abstract notions). Discusses why many women artists before the 20th century were portraitists and considers a few examples. Also highlights changing notions of masculinity in portraiture.
Comment: Useful in aesthetics classes discussing portraiture, depiction and representation, as well as philosophy of gender classes discussing representations of women.
Artworks to use with this text:
Lotte Laserstein, Self-Portrait with Cat (1928) vs Otto Dix, Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden (1926)
Both portraits were painted in 1920s Germany by artists linked to the New Objectivity art movement. Still, there is a notable difference between the ‘objective’ view of the male artist and the subjective self-image of the woman artist.
Elizabeth Siddal, Self-Portrait (1854)
There’s a marked contrast between the unhappiness and fatigue visible in this self-portrait and the beauty and eroticism in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Beata Beatrix (c.1862) in which he transfers the ideal qualities of Dante’s Beatrice into the real portrait of Siddal.
Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as “La Pittura” (c. 1630)
It could be said that the artist is complicit in the tendency of portraitists to generalize their women subjects as she embodied herself as the allegory of Painting. Nevertheless, Artemisia does not show herself in an idealized way and by self-consciously manipulating a set of conventions makes a unique contribution to the corpus of self-portraiture.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
- Added by: , Contributed by:
Diversifying Syllabi: The concept of ‘oppression’ cannot be captured by traditional, distributive conceptions of justice. Oppression is also not a unified phenomenon with an underlying, fundamental essence. To make sense of oppression, we need to revise our accounts of social ontology to recognize the existence of “groups.” Social groups can experience oppression in any of the following, crucially distinct five ways: exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Individuals within these groups can experience all, multiple, or just one of these forms of oppression and can also find themselves, simultaneously, in dominant groups/positions in other contexts. A revised social ontology that accounts for the existence of such groups shows that redistribution of material goods will not eliminate these forms of oppression.
Comment: This text is most useful in teaching on the nature of justice, as it offers a valuable alternative to the theories typically discussed in undergraduate classes. It offers a great introduction to the notion of systemic injustice and issues in gender and racial discrimination. Since the text is written in a fairly approachable way, it can offer a good introductory text in some junior courses, stimulating reflection on issues typically taken for granted.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
- Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:
Publisher’s note: In this classic work of feminist political thought, Iris Marion Young challenges the prevailing reduction of social justice to distributive justice. It critically analyzes basic concepts underlying most theories of justice, including impartiality, formal equality, and the unitary moral subjectivity. The starting point for her critique is the experience and concerns of the new social movements about decision making, cultural expression, and division of labor–that were created by marginal and excluded groups, including women, African Americans, and American Indians, as well as gays and lesbians. Iris Young defines concepts of domination and oppression to cover issues eluding the distributive model. Democratic theorists, according to Young do not adequately address the problem of an inclusive participatory framework. By assuming a homogeneous public, they fail to consider institutional arrangements for including people not culturally identified with white European male norms of reason and respectability. Young urges that normative theory and public policy should undermine group-based oppression by affirming rather than suppressing social group difference. Basing her vision of the good society on the differentiated, culturally plural network of contemporary urban life, she argues for a principle of group representation in democratic publics and for group-differentiated policies.
Comment: This is an important work of feminist political philosophy. It would be useful to teach in a course on feminist philosophy, or as part of a course or unit on theories of justice, as it engages with many of the seminal thinkers in this area, such as Locke, Rousseau, and Rawls.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
- Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:
Abstract: The essay theorizes the responsibilities moral agents may be said to have in relation to global structural social processes that have unjust consequences. How ought moral agents, whether individual or institutional, conceptualize their responsibilities in relation to global injustice? I propose a model of responsibility from social connection as an interpretation of obligations of justice arising from structural social processes. I use the example of justice in transnational processes of production, distribution and marketing of clothing to illustrate operations of structural social processes that extend widely across regions of the world. The social connection model of responsibility says that all agents who contribute by their actions to the structural processes that produce injustice have responsibilities to work to remedy these injustices. I distinguish this model from a more standard model of responsibility, which I call a liability model. I specify five features of the social connection model of responsibility that distinguish it from the liability model: it does not isolate perpetrators; it judges background conditions of action; it is more forward looking than backward looking; its responsibility is essentially shared; and it can be discharged only through collective action. The final section of the essay begins to articulate parameters of reasoning that agents can use for thinking about their own action in relation to structural injustice
Comment: This text responds to theories of individual responsibility for global distributive justice proposed by John Rawls, David Miller, and Onora O’Neill. It would work well as a response to them, but also contains overviews of their positions (i.e. it isn’t strictly necessary to be familiar with their body of work). The text contains illustrative examples of understanding collective responsibilities for injustice, such as goods produced in sweatshops. The text would work well in a course that covered distributive justice, social responsibility, or global justice.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
- Added by: Harry Lewendon-Evans, Contributed by:
Summary: This paper seeks to begin to fill a gap that exists both in existential phenomenology and feminist theory. It traces in a provisional way some of the basic modalities of feminine body comportment, manner of moving, and relation in space. It brings intelligibility and significance to certain observable and rather ordinary ways in which women in our society typically comport themselves and move differently from the ways that men do. In accordance with the existentialist concern with the situatedness of human experience, [Young] make[s] no claim to the universality of this typicality of the body comportment of women and the phenomenological description based on it. The account developed here claims only to describe the modalities of feminine bodily existence for women situated in contemporary advanced industrial, urban, and commercial society.
Comment: This paper provides a clear and useful introduction to the notion of gendered bodily experience. It would be a useful introductory piece for any course that studies the role of the body more generally, such as courses on phenomenology, philosophy of race/gender, or issues in cognitive science.Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format