PSCI 2014 Carole Pateman: The Sexual Contract
PSCI 2014 Carole Pateman: The Sexual Contract PSCI 2014
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by windwalkerr on Friday March 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSCI 2014 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University taught by Rohan Kalyan in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 40 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Political Theory in Political Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
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Date Created: 03/18/16
Carole Pateman: The Sexual Contract 3.15.16 She looks at the social contract and views how it affects inequality between genders. Her piece is called Women & Consent. Context: feminist critiques of liberalism Pateman is responding to a dilemma that feminists call a “double bind” o Should women attempt to seek to obtain absolute equality with men? Does this mean women should become more like men? Does this not reproduce inherently male standards of evaluation & qualification for positions of power/authority/respectability? Does this not accept social devaluation of practices, characteristics & value that societies label as “feminine”? o Should women instead celebrate their “femininity”, their “difference” from men? This perspective celebrates the distinct views, achievements & dispositions which supposedly characterize women, & aims to give them larger social spaces in which to function But since women’s differences have been created under conditions of oppression (historical male domination), the difference in perspective and practice affirms characteristics which bear the marks of adaptation & resignation to oppression, & thereby encourages women to opt out of activities that challenge men’s domination. When we look at liberal societies, there is a fundamental difference between men & women that we cannot escape. The social contract has always been first a sexual contract that authorizes domination of men over women All the major social contract theorists allow for inequality between men & women even as they rely on concept of consent to establish equality of citizens under liberal gov’t paradox of consent: women both can & cannot consent to domination (i.e. marriage contract) o Hobbes: assumes strict equality between m & w; conquest becomes consent o Rousseau: assumes inequality; women are inferior & incapable of political participation o Locke: women are (partially) equal but it is rational for them to consent to subjection to men This is the paradox: how can it be rational for equal citizens to submit to domination unless they are in reality unequal? Public vs private life Consent for Hobbes & Locke Hobbes (express & inferred consent) Locke (express & tacit consent) Liberalism & Consent Who consents to liberal contract? Can we ever choose not to consent? Liberal democratic theory needs consent to ground its larger voluntarist theory of society o But in Locke & Hobbes, everything, even force & threats of violence count as consent Carole Pateman: The Sexual Contract 3.15.16 o Consent merely reinterprets fact of power & domination o This places women in an inherently vulnerable & disempowered position w/in social contract theory o Marital rape Rousseau & rape Rousseau: “why do you consult their words when it is not their mouths that speak? The lips always say “no”, and rightly so; but the tone is not always the same, & that cannot lie… Must her modesty condemn her to misery? Does she not require a means of indicating her inclinations w/o open expression?” Rape culture No means yes > even resistance as consent Consent of women to sex is presupposed by marriage contract Marital rape is semilegal in 8 states Patriarchy & liberalism Today women have formal, legal equality w/ men, “but their formal legal status is contradicted by social beliefs & practices” o Burden of proving rape falls on victim of rape o “reasonable fear” of woman that she is being threatened o “reasonable belief” of man that woman is consenting In liberal legal discourse, both rape & racism are treated as extreme/exceptional cases, rather than as structural or foundational to liberal society o Liberalism acts of if legal realities precede social realities Rape is not about lust/desire but about power (structural) o Language of consent reproduces relationship of sexual domination: women (passively) consent to (active) men o “an egalitarian sexual relationship cannot rest on this basis; it cannot be grounded in “consent” o Consent is meaningless where gender inequality prevails Persisting gender inequality 1. Norms of femininity tend to socialize women as individuals who don’t conceive of themselves as aggressive, selfseeking bargainers, & who hence aren’t motivated to act on such a self conception 2. Norms of heterosexual relationships: a man who gives up career advantages in order to take up equal responsibilities for housework & childrearing has made great sacrifice relative to his peers & has thus earned gratitude of his wife that he doesn’t owe to her, for this arrangement makes her a gainer relative to her peers 3. Norms of heterosexual relationship also construe the very acts of offer &acceptance asymmetrically. When these norms prescribe that the man initiates all proposals, or when submission to greater power is counted as acceptance & women are trained in submission, sexual agreements btw men & women can hardly be expected to make them equals