Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Freedom and Personal Liberties

(In response to the discussion on liberty in class, and how women in different countries view their personal liberties.)

I have always felt that liberty has more to do with freedom of choice, than specific freedoms concerning clothing ect. If someone wants to wear a headscarf, or if they want to lay out in public in a bikini, it should be their CHOICE to do so. The freedom of it lies in their ability to choose which they would prefer and then be act to act upon that choice. I believe that the lack of liberty found in some Third world nations lies in the women’s inability to choose their apparel. Those who can choose and decide to wear the head scarves – power to you. The liberty of America can be found in the “pursuit of happiness” slogan, Americans have the freedom, regardless of gender, to do what they need to (within limits) in order to be happy and feel safe. If the headscarves make the afghan women happy and safe, then they should do what makes them happy. If they wear them out of fear of punishment or because they are legally forced to do so, then that represents a lack of liberty.


confessions_of_an_ordinary said...

Did the class discuss the concepts of negative and positive liberty?

I've been told that positive liberty is similar to a prescriptive ethic. It adopts an ideal, and evaluate deviations to this norm. i.e. A woman is x,y,z and if you don't subscribe to these norms, then you're not a woman. The problem with this type of liberty is that its susceptibility to the use of coercion and force on someone to accept the legitimacy of said ideal.

Negative liberty is the belief that you can choose to do whatever you want in so far as you don't interfere with another person's liberty. ie. If this is what it means to be female, fuck it; I'm gonna fuck like a man, and be polyamorous, and fuck with your normative rules.

The reason I bring up the concepts of positive/negative liberty is that I find a lot of tension within this wave of feminism is due the implicit use of one type of liberty to justify the virtue of one's project over and above another's.

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