NEGATIVE - CRITIQUE - FEMINIST CRITIQUE OF PRIVACY 126
FEMINIST CRITIQUE OF PRIVACY SHELL
THESIS STATEMENT: The affirmative plan passes a law that increases privacy, which necessarily presumes a that there is a corresponding public area from which individuals seek privacy from. This reifies the public/private dichotomy which is particularly oppressive to women. Thus, the affirmative plan only solves for half of the population, while further deepening the patriarchy that underlies our society and institutions. The only alternative is to critique from a feminist perspective to open up hope for a less exclusionary society.
A. THE CONCEPT OF NONINTERFERENCE IN THE PRIVATE REALM LEGITIMATES INEQUALITY AND OPPRESSION
Louise Marie Roth, "The Right to Privacy Is Political: Power, the Boundary Between Public and Private, and Sexual Harassment," Law and Social Inquiry, Winter, 1999, 24 Law & Soc. Inquiry 45 , EE2001-JGM, P.56
Feminist scholars have revealed that noninterference in the "private" realm has the effect of reinforcing power and powerlessness (MacKinnon 1989). Formal equality fails to engender real equality, and even reinforces inequality, because power relations from the public realm operate with impunity in the arena of nonintervention. In guaranteeing a right to privacy in the private sphere to all citizens, the liberal state legitimates an area in which inequalities of power based on resources, knowledge, and symbolic attributions can act with impunity (MacKinnon 1989; Polan 1993; Hoff 1991). The development of a feminist critique of the legal and ideological division of private and public, of personal and political, led to the feminist mantra, "The personal is political." Not only is the personal political in the sense that the private sphere contains power relations that mirror those outside it, but systemic power also influences the right to privacy. The arbitrariness of the discursive boundary between public and private subjects it to the influence of social power.
B. THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE DICHOTOMY PERPETUATES MASCULINE HEGEMONY
Susan Baker, Senior Lecturer in European Social Research at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, 1999; WOMEN AND PUBLIC POLICY: THE SHIFTING BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SPHERES, "Risking Difference: Reconceptualizing the Boundaries between the Public and Private Spheres," EE2001-hxm p. 7
Cultural gendering In Western thought, the public-private dichotomy supports, and is supported by, a series of conceptual polarities, such as equality and difference, reason and emotion, independence and dependence (Okin, 1991, p. 77; James, 1992, p. 48). These polarities also separate men from nature and women from culture, a separation heavily criticized in ecofeminist analysis (Baker, 1995). This way of conceptualizing the world has had a profound impact on our cultural heritage-it sets in train a process termed 'cultural gendering' (Davies). Cultural gendering leads to masculinity and femininity being expressed through different developmental trajectories: the one towards separation and autonomy, the other towards connection and attachment. As a consequence, the route to masculinity comes to involve denial or repression of femininity (Davies). it makes masculinity hegemonic, not just in the sense of silencing non masculine ways of thinking and acting, but also in the sense that actions in the public sphere become governed according to a masculine vision (Davies, 1995). The public world becomes conceptually associated with masculinity, the private world with femininity. The tragedy of 'cultural gendering' is that it acts to 'wrench apart the diversity and richness of human qualities' (Davies), impoverishing our culture as well as political practice.
C. WE MUST CRITIQUE POWER RELATIONS IN ORDER TO STOP THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE DISTINCTION FROM BEING OPPRESSIVE AND EXCLUSIONARY
Nancy Fraser, Graduate Prof. of Political Science at the New School of Research, 1998; FEMINISM, THE PUBLIC AND THE PRIVATE, Sex, Lies, and the Public Sphere: Reflections on the Confirmation of Clarence Thomas," EE2001-hxm p. 334
This last point suggests that if these events expose some weaknesses in the liberal theory of the public sphere, they also point in the direction of a better theory. Such a theory would need to take as its starting point the multivalent, contested character of the categories of privacy and publicity with their gendered and racialized subtexts. It would have to acknowledge that in highly stratified latecapitalist societies, riot everyone stands in the same relation to privacy and publicity; some have more power than others to draw and defend the line. Further, an adequate theory of the public sphere would need to theorize both the multiplicity of pubic spheres in contemporary late-capitalist societies and also the relations among them. It would need to distinguish, for example, official governmental public spheres, massmediated mainstream public spheres, counter-pubic spheres, and informal public spheres in everyday life. It would also need to show how sonic of these publics marginalize others. Such a theory would certainly help us better understand discursive struggles like the Thomas/Hill confrontation. Perhaps it could also help inspire us to imagine, and to fight for, a more egalitarian and democratic society.
D. THE CRITIQUE IS KEY TO BREAKING DOWN THE MALE NORM
Susan Baker, Senior Lecturer in European Social Research at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, 1999; WOMEN AND PUBLIC POLICY: THE SHIFTING BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SPHERES, "Risking Difference: Reconceptualizing the Boundaries between the Public and Private Spheres," EE2001-hxm p. 24-25
Social dialogue involves a process of discursive exchange that, at its most basic, requires recognition of the value of the other. Essential then to the new dialogue is the acceptance of diversity, through, for example, the encouragement of multiple voices in dialogue (Young, 1990; Davies; Meehan and Collins; Stivers). Through this we can break away from a constant comparison that renders the male normative and the female inferior, helping to facilitate the development of a distinctive 'women's world view' (Davies). This, however, brings our discussion back to the feminist debate on difference.