Handbook of International Feminisms: Perspectives on Psychology, Women, Culture, and Rights

History of Feminist Psychology
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In the case of India, having laws are not sufficient if they cannot be enforced due to cultural bias. Along with laws, both feminists, promoting the concept of including women's rights within human rights system and genuine cultural relativists, who believe that culture and tradition cannot be outside the scope of human rights discourse, should work together and use technology in a progressive way.

The philosophers who defend moral relativism believe that moral right or wrong, i.

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So, what is morally right within one moral framework might not be right within another moral framework. And no one moral framework is objectively the true framework.

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With regard to human rights, moral relativists who are cultural relativists believe that human rights is the outcome of Western culture. Therefore, the so-called "universal human rights" address the needs and aspirations of western culture. Some cultural relativists argue that human rights are not compatible with the non-western culture. In non-western cultures which is collective or community rights oriented, individual rights are not given much importance unlike western culture.

Many non-westerners argue that because their culture is very different from western culture, westerners should not impose their values and standards on a non-westerner.

Perspectives on Psychology, Women, Culture, and Rights

The goal of Handbook of International Perspectives on Feminism is to present the histories, status, Perspectives on Psychology, Women, Culture, and Rights. Handbook of international feminisms: Perspectives on psychology, women, culture, and rights. Citation. Rutherford, A., Capdevila, R., Undurti, V., & Palmary, .

In general, then, cultural relativists reject human rights. On one extreme is the view that human rights are incompatible with the non-western culture. This kind of radical view is not followed to a very great extent.

Professor, Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto

Women are portrayed in the media as sexual objects: thin, large breasted, demure and flawless. Marecek, J. Philosophers who are feminists have, in their work in traditional fields of study, begun to change those very fields. I got to know him and his wife and, when he became Commissioner of Education, he and I would have long crazy talks. The possibility of positive objectification 6.

Often, conservative Muslim circles who tend to advocate this kind of radical view do not reject human rights altogether. Instead, they advocate an alternative set of human rights based on Islamic sources. Most cultural relativists either reject specific rights or reject the specific content or interpretation of those rights.

Western Feminism in a Global Perspective

For example, a culture might object to freedom of religion. Some cultural relativists might accept a right with all its components and with its general interpretation, but reject the classification of a particular cultural practice as a violation of that right. To take another example, in a culture where abortion of female fetuses in the third trimester of pregnancy is practiced, the prohibition of torture and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment, prohibited under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights may be completely accepted while the classification of abortion of female fetuses as such treatment is rejected.

Many cultural relativists argue that the human rights system needs to be transformed by placing emphasis on communal interests rather than individual rights. The issue of sex determination tests in India can be approached by a moral relativist as being relative to the moral framework of India. So, though it is not right from the moral framework of the western cultures, yet it might be considered as right in the context of India.

It is often argued that the abortion of female fetuses is the result of the cultural background of India. It is also based on economic factors from the point of view of the women and their family who decide to have an abortion when they find through amniocentesis that the fetus is female. This is an example of a case where modern medical technology of amniocentesis is used not as a progressive method but as a regressive method.

I agree with those who argue that it is essential to understand the cultural differences to understand why different cultures have different accepted practices. But at the same time, one needs to consider if the culture or tradition is improving the condition of a powerless group, namely, women in this case. Feminists argue that women should be included in the human rights protection system.

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They criticize that human rights proponents look at the interest of the dominant male sex to the exclusion of the female sex. Declaration of human rights are framed in the language of men and reflect men's needs and aspirations. All the strands of feminism aim at the inclusion of women in the human rights dialogue though the ways they achieve this aim can vary.

For example, liberal feminists 3 are concerned with equal rights for both men and women. So, in general, liberal feminists write about ways in which women's voice can be given equal importance to men's voice. Some liberal feminists bring out those areas where women's rights have been neglected under the human rights protection system. Others focus on the improvement of the present institutional structure which will allow the enforcement of the human rights of women.

Other feminists highlight the differences between men and women and propose different measures for including the female difference approach to the human rights system. One of the major difference between men and women is the biological difference. As women are comparatively weaker physically than men, women are more vulnerable to acts of violence, more specifically to acts of sexual violence. Due to her childbearing capabilities, she takes the role of child-rearer which places more responsibilities on her at home.

Carol Gilligan in her book In a Different Voice and others have argued that woman's psychological structure is also different from man's. Some cultural feminists call for the reorientation of human rights towards the concrete. They do not claim that the existing human rights framework should be rejected. But on the other hand these feminists advocate the revision of existing human rights framework by considering woman's differences.

They propose that reproductive rights, sexual autonomy rights and similar other rights need to be added to the existing framework. The dichotomy between the public and the private ought to be eliminated because women's oppression takes place in the private context. The public or political sphere is viewed as male and the socioeconomic sphere which is related to women's advancement is not viewed on the same level. Feminists are interested in taking women's actual experiences within their full contexts.

There are certain similarities between the claims of feminism and cultural relativism though there are differences also. First, both believe that the liberal concept of human rights have been developed by the dominant group and they exclude the feminist and cultural relativistic perspective. Feminists and cultural relativists advocate different strategies. Feminists accuse human rights discourse as not being universal as it does not include concerns of women.

Cultural relativists, on the other hand, rejects the universality of human rights as they exclude the perspective of non-Western cultures. Second, another similarity between feminists and cultural relativists is that both believe that social and economic rights should be viewed on the same level and given equal importance to civil and political rights. The concrete needs of women and non-Western people must be given importance and not view people or individuals as abstractions.

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