Feminism as an Ethical Discourse of Inclusiveness

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Henrieta Anișoara Șerban


This article approaches the feminist discourse as an ethical discourse. The feminist discourse is interpreted as a symptom of the relationship among speech, symbolic power and worldview. Discourse situates people, while emphasizing, if not sustaining, reinforcing, or challenging power structures. The awareness of the connection between speech and action as well as the awareness concerning the power of language to emphasize inequality and marginalization should be manifest in intellectual and in more popular contexts of life, although it is not. Feminist discursive considerations continue to be disregarded as unimportant constituting an intriguing parallel to the general approach of feminist matters, interests and ideals and to women’s affairs in certain carefully adorned social and more personal contexts (for instance, related to harassment, violence and rape). The feminist discourse represents the discourse of autonomy, public presence and dignity of women. However, feminism is not just a discourse, and it is not just one unitary discourse, since it prescribes a paradigm of a specific and very complex worldview (a Gestalt) and the category of women is assumed as being heterogeneous. As an ethical discourse, the feminist discourse aims to transform society. It articulates the emancipation from prescribed social roles, human rights as rights for all humans and as rights to dignity. The study is based on the theoretical perspectives opened by feminist classics such as Simone de Beauvoir and Luce Irigaray, as well as on arguments engaged by more recent authors, such as Chantal Mouffe and Mihaela Miroiu. We ground our investigation also on the findings of Pierre Bourdieu in what concerns the relation between language and power. In our (holistic) view, a relevant discussion of feminism cannot approach separately the feminist discourse, the feminist theoretical and political tenants, the feminist worldviews and potential reformation of power structures. In this way, feminism is very close to the postliberalism of Richard Rorty, although it presents specific differences from other postliberal views and liberalism. Feminism, as inclusive ethical discourse, places the accent on a more emphatic worldview where solidarity is based on care (Carol Gilligan) and not on the gratitude of being born a man. As a consequence, this worldview endorses security rights for women in society and at home, the reproduction rights  for women and on the equality of opportunity for women and men.

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ȘERBAN, Henrieta Anișoara. Feminism as an Ethical Discourse of Inclusiveness. Annals of the University of Bucharest - Philosophy Series, [S.l.], v. 67, n. 2, p. 89-108, apr. 2019. ISSN 0068-3175. Available at: <http://annals.ub-filosofie.ro/index.php/annals/article/view/280>. Date accessed: 25 may 2022.