Feminist Ethics and Politics


What, in Lindemann’s "What is Feminist Ethics?," is the relationship between ethics and politics? How does feminist politics inform her theory of ethics?

Lindemann states that the relationship between feminist ethics and politics is so close, it is often difficult to separate the two. I believe this claim relates to a subject far larger and more broad than the one outlined in this essay; the tendency of people to separate topics that have no reason to be separated. One such topic is the issues faced by individuals and how they affect societies as a whole.

I agree with Lindemann in that the power structures related to politics play a massive role in the discussion of feminist ethics as described by her, though it also plays a role in nearly every aspect of society as a whole. She somewhat brings up this idea in her mention of Carol Hanisch’s observation that “personal problems are political problems.” I do not, however, fully agree with this, as I believe many individual problems are caused at least in part by the perception upon the world of individual persons. 

The person that wakes up expecting to have a bad day for whatever reason will likely encounter more “problems” than she that wakes up and maintains a positive outlook on the day ahead. One who perceives obstacles as opportunities for triumph will not be affected by them in the same way one who perceives them as nothing more than struggles will. What is a problem? There's a question of what problems of individuals end up becoming issues of society, and what problems of individuals are problems at all.

It is upon answering those questions (though I don't think they'll be answered any time soon) that we'll likely come to the realization that all social issues, political or otherwise, are rooted in flaws in humanity as a shared and unavoidable set of characteristics intrinsic to being human.

Julian Tineo