NEGATIVE - CRITIQUE - FEMINIST CRITIQUE OF PRIVACY 146
B EXT IMPACTSPRIVACY DISCOURSE LEADS TO OPPRESSION OF WOMEN
THE RHETORIC OF PRIVACY IN THE LEGAL REALM IS OPPRESSIVE
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.50
The rhetoric of privacy in legal discourse condones the state's failure to regulate women's economic and sexual exploitation within intimate relationships. According to liberal ideology, as long as the state does not interfere, autonomous individuals act freely in their noncontractual, familial and intimate interactions. However, women tend to be most vulnerable in the "private sphere" because they tend to have less power, which is linked to valued resources, knowledge, and symbolic attributions that accrue through activities in the "public sphere" (MacKinnon 1989; Polan 1993; Hoff 1991).
PRIVACY DISCOURSE REIFIES DISCURSIVE OPPRESSION OF WOMEN AND LEGITIMIZES MALE DOMINATION OVER WOMEN
Seyla Benhabib, Prof. of Government at Harvard University, 1998; FEMINISM, THE PUBLIC AND THE PRIVATE, "Models of Public Space: Hannah Arendt, the Liberal Tradition, and Jurgen Habermas," EE2001-hxm p. 87-88
Certainly a normative theory, and in particular a critical social theory, cannot take the aspirations of any social actors at face value and fit its critical criteria to meet the demands of a particular social movement. Commitment to social transformation, and yet a certain critical distance, even from the demands of those with whom one identifies, are essential to the vocation of the theorist as social critic. For this reason, the purpose of these final considerations is not to criticize the critical theory of Habermas simply by confronting it with the demands of the women's movement. Rather, my goal is to point to an area of conceptual unclarity as well as political contestation in contemporary debates. Any theory of the public, the public sphere, and publicity presupposes a distinction between the public and the private. These are the terms of a binary opposition. What the women's movement and feminist theorists in the last two decades have shown is that traditional modes of drawing this distinction have been part of a discourse of domination which legitimizes women's oppression and exploitation in the private realm. But the discourse model, precisely because it proceeds from a fundamental norm of egalitarian reciprocity and precisely because it projects the democratization of all social norms, cannot preclude the democratization of familial norms and of norms governing the gender division of labour in the family as well." If in discourses the agenda of the conversation is radically open, if participants can bring any and all matters under critical scrutiny and questioning, then there is no way to predefine the nature of the issues discussed as being public ones of justice versus private ones of the good life. Distinctions such as those between justice and the good life, norms and values, interests and needs are 'subsequent' and not prior to the process of discursive will formation. As long as these distinctions are renegotiated, reinterpreted, and rearticulated as a result of a radically open and procedurally fair discourse, they can be drawn in any of a number of ways. Thus there is both an 'elective affinity' and a certain tension between the demands of social movements like the women's movement and the discourse ethic.