Monday 31 August 2009

The Existence of Woman in the Family: Ethical Perspective of Simone de Beauvoir

My thesis at Faculty of Philosophy Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta Indonesia is a library research deals with “The Existence of Woman in the Family: Ethical Perspective of Simone de Beauvoir” (2007). Its background is based on the concern about the oppression to woman in the family. Woman is treated without humanity, has no freedom to transcend; and all of this perceived as natural and usual. Meanwhile, philosophy has not much concern and interest to examine this problem, which has important ethics implications.

This research is devoted to trace the answer of the following questions: How Simone de Beauvoir criticizes the problem of woman’s existence in the family from ethical and philosophical perspective? What are the relevance and the contextual meaning of her critics? This research concentrates particularly on two important works of Beauvoir, The Second Sex and The Ethics of Ambiguity. This research stand on feminism as a theoretical frame—or more specifically, woman perspective. This means that the problems which explored viewed from the standpoint and main purpose to make the interest and voices of woman to be clear and evident. This theoretical perspective assumes that all human being, in the level of individual and society, man and woman, have the same moral obligation that is to create together an unconstrained space in order to make all individual get their dignity as human being.

This research concludes two important things. First, patriarchal civilization had violated the ethical meaning of the family as a medium to combine two independent existences, so that woman cannot bring the true meaning of her freedom, her existence, and her transcendence into reality. Man and the most member of community considered woman only in term of reproductive function. They simplified woman only as a body. As a result, woman trapped in the immanence, and she tends to hide in the comfort of “protection” of man and let her transcendence thrown away by her bad faith (mauvaise foi).

Beauvoir give an ethical frame should be nourished in the family, namely partnership relation based on friendship and generosity, to encourage the realization of freedom of individual. Based on the ethics of ambiguity, Beauvoir argued that we must also consider the other as the extension of our endeavour to generate our freedom—this is the difference between Beauvoir and Sartre, while Sartre recognized relation with the other as inherently conflictual. The partnership should be provided to promote and restore the ethical meaning of the family and to flourish the manifestation of woman’s freedom in the family. To put it simply, we must bring the ethical meaning of the family back by wiping the patriarchal paradigm and attitude in society with constant actions. Actually, in my opinion, this effort will be strategic if it begins from the realm of family itself. But, of course, this will be a challenging situation to manage the ambiguity between man and woman in the family.

The second conclusion relates to the contextual meaning of Beauvoir’s ethical perspectives. In the contemporary situation, ethical critics and ethical frame of Beauvoir about the existence of woman in the family find its important and contextual meaning in the context of globalization, capitalism, and consumerism. After more than fifty years from the publication of The Second Sex, we can assert that the condition of woman is generally better. Many women have good position in public area and our society. Many women in the family also achieve financial independence, so they have spacious and broader opportunity to engender the meaning of freedom and transcendence.

But global order of the new world creates a new challenge to the woman’s freedom. Globalization, capitalism, and consumerism, have decreased the positive values endorsed by feminism, and women face a serious problem again concerning her freedom. If patriarchal culture had defined the body of woman in the frame of function of reproduction, then now we find that the body of woman has to fight for the myth of beauty. The meaning of freedom tends to be superficial, in a sense that it reduces the core meaning of freedom, that freedom must be a project of transcendence and doesn’t mean submission to the logic of capitalism. This situation is also a new threat for the essential meaning of freedom and the ethical meaning of the family. In this context, the ethical perspectives of Beauvoir have its vital significance.

1 komentar:

Rumput Liar said...

Saya baru menyadari kalau skripsi Ra Ava tentang perempuan.. Dulu waktu skripsi Ra Ava dipinjam Mba' Anna sempat baca sedikit tapi tak ingat isinya apa.. Hahahaa..