Autonomy, gender, politics

New York: Oxford University Press (2003)
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Abstract

Women have historically been prevented from living autonomously by systematic injustice, subordination, and oppression. The lingering effects of these practices have prompted many feminists to view autonomy with suspicion. Here, Marilyn Friedman defends the ideal of feminist autonomy. In her eyes, behavior is autonomous if it accords with the wants, cares, values, or commitments that the actor has reaffirmed and is able to sustain in the face of opposition. By her account, autonomy is socially grounded yet also individualizing and sometimes socially disruptive, qualities that can be ultimately advantageous for women. Friedman applies the concept of autonomy to domains of special interest to women. She defends the importance of autonomy in romantic love, considers how social institutions should respond to women who choose to remain in abusive relationships, and argues that liberal societies should tolerate minority cultural practices that violate women's rights so long as the women in question have chosen autonomously to live according to those practices.

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Marilyn Friedman
Washington University in St. Louis

Citations of this work

The Feminist Case Against Relational Autonomy.Serene J. Khader - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5):499-526.
Feminist Perspectives on Autonomy.Natalie Stoljar - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Autonomous Life: A Pure Social View.Michael Garnett - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):143-158.

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