Friday, 24 October 2008

Friday Feminist - Carole Pateman

Cross posted

An old anarchist slogan states that 'no man is good enough to be another man's master'. The sentiment is admirable, but the slogan is silent on one crucial issue. In modern civil society all men are deemed good enough to be women's masters; civil freedom depends on patriarchal right. The failure to see patriarchal right as central to the political problem of freedom, mastery and subordination is so deep-seated that even the anarchists, so acutely aware of subjection among men, have had few quarrels with their fellow socialists about sexual domination. From the beginning of the modern era, when Mary Astell asked why, if all men were born free, all women were born slaves, feminists have persistently challenged masculine right; but, despite all the social changes and legal and political reforms over the past 300 years, the question of women's subordination is still not seen as a matter of major importance, either in the academic study of politics or in political practice. Controversy about freedom revolves round the law of the state and the law of capitalist production: silence is maintained on the law of male sex-right.

Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract, 1988


Anna said...

Carol Pateman is my homegirl. Her critiques of liberalism and the marriage contract are right on the money.

Anonymous said...

No she is not right on the money. She is destroying the ideology of the love, she degrades political philosophy in order to fit her needs. and her critique of liberalism is nothing more than repetitive psycho babble, trying to prove that women deserve a better position within society WHICH has happened in an orderly fashion. her supporting evidence is weak, seeing as though she tries to disprove Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, Engels, among others who saw that within the state of nature, women were not capable of providing for themselves. that is why we, for Rousseau move to the state of nature, to help each other out in terms of living. the men do the grunt work, the women do the important work, namely promoting moral support for our youth. it seems that a complaint about a contract is a moronic way to go about critiquing the sexual contract. women raise children... including boys. thus it within their power to change the contract with the education of the youth.

overall she makes VALID POINTS but WEAK in their discussions and support. Carole Pateman is way too repetitive in her lackadaisical arguement. hopefully we will have someone else who will better understand the social/marriage/sexual contract.


Anonymous said...

To the above poster:

Hobbes states that women are incapable of providing for themselves in the state of nature? I would suggest you go back and re-read Hobbes' chapter on mothers and the state of nature (Ch. 20 of Leviathan). Hobbes makes the point that mothers provide not only for themselves, but for their children as well, which gives them a role of greater importance in the state of nature.

Also, I think in terms of the role of women in Rousseau's theories, you give him too much credit. His argument for the sexual division of education, and namely that women should be brought up to please men, showcase his male dominance-oriented views.

Also, you may want to look at Wollstonecraft, who points out the deficiency in Roussueau's theories concerning the education of women, especially when it comes to them as mothers raising boys.

While you are correct that, theoretically, they have the power to change the contract through the education of their children, the fact that women are brought up to simply please men means that their intellect has been extremely restricted. How will they know that anything is wrong with society or that the contract needs to be changed when they are not brought up to think for themselves in any sort of critical fashion?