Following the social unrest and gender inequality of the post-modern era and the seemingly reforms done to address the issue, it is still evident that amidst these modifications and changes to make it appear that there exist gender equality, it is very obvious that gender inequality still exist. In a patriarchal society that is practiced in every social structure around the world, it is impossible to prevent the disparity that distinguishes people by virtue of gender and sexuality. While the problem in the past was limited to the disparity between two gendermale and female, this is further aggravated by the birth of a third group who prefers to be identified apart from the two clashing group. They are known to the majority as the homosexualsgays and lesbians. And to make the issue far more complicated, another group clamors a different identity, the transsexuals. Now the imbalance has furthered been tipped. The issues concerning inequality of men and women has not yet been resolved and now society is yet to address another issue relating to sexual identity, gender and gender role. Thus, it is only crucial to end that issue on male and female inequality to concentrate on the issues of blending in the homosexual and transgender rights to allow for a harmonious community of people no longer identified by their gender. However, it is believed that the three groups experience the same forms of injustice and social abuse but on different degree and extent. The patriarchal system that is allowed and tolerated to manipulate and rule the society is the reason social unrest and gender inequality exist. However, very little is done to revert the problem without explanation as to why society is blinded by the effect of this cultural conditioning thereby raising questionable ethical basis for such practice. In this paper, it will attempt to concentrate on the issue of domestic violence targeting women in the question of autonomy.
The Issue of Gender and Inequality
From Kohlbergs Theory of Moral Development, the concept of morality can be traced from the earliest period of human development (Shaffer 2004). This only suggests that children who witness domestic violence at home and the unfair treatment is more likely to carry the impression that this is the right way to treat women. This theory lays a good foundation on tracing the origin of discrimination and unjust treatment of women. In addition, Kohlbergs Theory of Moral Development also proposes the root of the problem to the patriarchal system that society adopts as presented in the study in 1989. According to the author of that study, the moral reasoning of a child takes the form based on how the family grooms the child. In a house where inequality reigns, as manifested by favoritism, domestic violence and hostility, a child is likely to adopt that culture when they venture out into the community (Walker 1989). Subconsciously, the childs moral reasoning shall be fashioned in the thought that if it is seen within the family then it is acceptable.
Many feminist groups agree with Kant that gender oppression is a product of the capitalist society that believes and support the concept of a patriarchal system. Kant argues that a societys interest to increase production is the reason it thinks highly of the male population (Lugones 2008). Society associates physical strength, intelligence and speed as characteristics that can be isolated only to the male population. It was further supported that simply because utilitarianism all for the doctrine of maximum utility it cannot be avoided that there will be political and social unrest to ensure that the society will equally benefit from the result of a communal effort. The theory of utilitarianism and feminism might clash in certain viewpoints. However, it was able to identify how society facilities for the formation of social hierarchy for which gender is one of them. Estelle Freedman lays the foundation of an argument that shows how Kants theory argues that while men and women as different, they also share something in common and that is their basic human rights (Freedman 2006). This argument presented by Freedman contends that Kants protectionist perspective should be the product of the indifference that exist between men and women. Feminism agrees to this principle. And if there is any strength to the principle of utilitarianism the protectionist perspective would be that. It supports the belief that women should be protected from abuse and injustice. However, the utilitarian principle also presents a different argument. It endorses that women should be protected on the account that they are weak and gullible. These characteristics make them an easy target for abuse and injustice. However, this is not the main contention of feminism. They do not wish to be protected on the argument that they will submit to the notion that promotes stereotyping them based on those identified characteristics. This makes the principle of utilitarianism weak in terms of defending the rights of women.
Deontological Ethics emphasizes on the role and duties of individuals as a member of the society. From this perspective, it opens the argument of the role of women and men as distinctly coming from two opposing ends. According to the deontological perspective, women possess characteristics that are determined by their biological qualities (Waller 2005). This includes their ability to reproduce. This supports that the role of women is isolated to domestic duties and affairs of the household. Whereas, men who are stronger and faster than women have better capabilities to enforce the necessary changes and the role in the workforce. In addition, deontological ethics also support that because women are vulnerable and emotional, they are more associated on motherly roles should they partake in the affairs of the community. Like the principle of utilitarianism, deontology also asserts that the weak points of women makes them an easy target for abuse and, therefore, assigned men to ensure that women are to be protected. If there is anything worthy of recognition with this theory, it is the way how it enforces men to protect and safeguard the integrity of women. Thus, it abhors any form of physical, verbal, psychological and mental abuse against women as premeditated by the male population.
Based on the three theories used to argue on the concept of domestic violence directed against women and autonomy, it has been concluded that Kohlbergs Moral Development provides the best reasoning and arguments on the issue. Kohlberg did not limit nor set women into a boxed-type perspective of what she can and cannot do. In addition, Kohlberg did not introduce any form of stereotype against women. Instead, it tried to approach and review the issue from a perspective that would enumerate how the problem originates and how it goes out into the society. Kohlberg addresses the issue from the core of the problem. It did not try to present any justification on any ill-behavior that would result to the form of abuse or injustice that targets women. Kohlbergs concern was centered more on how the abusive behavior originates from what is typically seen from the house that is the structural and institutional source of the individuals moral foundation. On the other hand, the two other theories have been great at emphasizing that women should be protected. The said theories should be given credit for their earnest desire to prevent the social abuse and injustice directed to women. However, their approach as to emphasizing that there is the need to protect women because they are weak and incapable of protecting themselves shows discrimination and prejudice that women are different from men and the difference only support that men are comparatively better and superior to women. Kohlberg has also been able to show the side of the patriarchal system as one promoting the injustice this is citing Kants perspective of the society being capitalist-oriented that gives birth to the paternalistic system. In addition, it was sufficient to establish that if the problem is to be averted and resolved the start should be initiated at home.
Work Cited Page
Freedman, Estelle. Feminism, Sexuality, and Politics. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2006. Print.
Lugones, Maria. "Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System." Hypatia, 22(1) (2008): 196198. Print.
Shaffer, David. Social and Personality Development. Boston, Massachusetts: Wadsworth Publishing, 2004. Print.
Walker, Lawrence. "A longitudinal study of moral reasoning." Child Development, 60(1) (1989): 157166. Print.
Waller, Bruce. Consider Ethics: Theory, Readings, and Contemporary Issues. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005. Print.
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