Asking herself questions like the ones raised above, Mary Wollstonecraft concluded that moral virtue is unitary. Women, she said, are obligated to practice the same morality men practice; that is, human morality. Although she did not use terms like “socially-constructed gender roles,” Wollstonecraft denied that women are doomed by nature to be less virtuous than men. Deprived of sufficient opportunities to develop their rational powers, women wind up being overly emotional, hypersensitive, narcissistic, self-indulgent individuals. Wollstonecraft said there is nothing wrong about women, including their supposedly weak moral characters, that cannot be cured by a rigorous education; that is, the kind of education that aims to develop students’ rational powers. Men have concerns, causes, and commitments over and beyond petty, self-interested ones because they receive a proper education. Give women men’s education, said Wollstonecraft, and women, no less than men, will become morally-mature human beings (Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, p. 105).
Tong, Rosemarie and Williams, Nancy, “Feminist Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2011/entries/feminism-ethics/>.
This post is communicating the point that women and men are not held to the same standard in terms of ethics and morality because they are not provided the opportunity to experience the same things as men in order to develop morality and an ethical standpoint. However, if men and women were given the same opportunities, particularly education, they would be able to and should be held to the same moral standards and judged on it equally.
In my opinion, men and women are different biologically and for that reason have different habits caused by nature. For example, the fact that women actually bear children and are the ones to carry the child for 40 weeks before the male becomes more involved predisposes the women to feeling more connected to the child, and in that, acting more morally on that child’s behalf. Because of the way we were made by God, I believe that our moral and ethical perspectives are different in nature, but are of equal importance in making the world ‘go round’. I also believe that if women and men were given the same educational opportunities, as they are in the present day America, that their moral and ethical standpoints would grow to be more similar. For example, now that men and women both go to school and college and often times the mother works fulltime, just as the father- the women may take on opinions of justice that she needs to be successful in the workplace, while the male may take on and develop knowledge of caring and nurturing, because he now too has to stay with and take care of the child. In conclusion, I agree that men and women will begin to develop more congruent ethical and moral ideas provided they are given the same opportunities. However, I also think that biological make up and the difference in human nature between men and women plays a large role in developing morals.
I will try to express my opinion of ethics of caring and ethics of justice in a way that sounds minimally sexist. I feel that men and women were meant to compliment each other, not for the suppressive women to serve the dominant man, but rather that the qualities of a woman will perfectly compliment the qualities of a man in a way in which they will become a functional unit (hopeless romantic, I know). I feel that women are predisposed genetically to be more caring because of their role as child bearers, and I feel that men are genetically predisposed to defend justice because of their lacking the ability to bear children, and so take of the role of protector of their mate and child. I do not feel that these ethical roles of caring and justice are opposite- rather I feel that compliment each other. And while genetics and biology predispose the women to fulfill one role and the men to fill another, I feel that in the event on is slacking, the other member will take on the ethical responsibilities of the other.
Friendship, true friendship, in my opinion is supporting one individual in their struggles and endeavors and trying to understand their point of view. The basis of friendship, mutual understanding, is an essential role in building our ethical opinions and moral standpoints, trying carefully not to judge others and respect where they are coming from.
My definition of empathy is to be able to understand where a person is coming from, and understanding their sorrow rather than just feeling sorry for them for a split second. Empathy is the ability to really look at a situation from the other person’s point of view and being able to understand their many emotions. Through empathy, we can learn not to judge others and learn to be more accepting of many points of view.
I feel that if we put too much emphasis on caring personally for one person, we will be too focused on their points of view and perspective. This may not be an issue, but if the person’s opinions are morally wrong, then we end up supporting morally unethical causes and in that, neglect larger ethical issues.
I chose the song ‘Thank You’ by Celine Dion as the multimedia piece to show what my opinions of friendship are and how important and meaningful and true friendship can be. The lyrics can be found on the following link: