It is a true thing that feminism embodies the change aspect in every sense. This noble course tends to quash out any imbalances that arise in as far as gender issues are concerned. This has prominently put the course for which feminists are advocating at loggerheads with the conventional practices; traditions and cultural affiliations of many communities. The feminists are, therefore, on a mission to quash out any existing differences and instances of unfair treatment thereby establishing methods to achieve equality. The effects of cultural standards are best felt within the specific jurisdictions for which they are formed. For this reason therefore, it is increasingly difficult (actually an exercise in futility), to set cultural standards in a specific society and expect to use that as a benchmark even for other societies. The diversities that have rocked the contemporary world have had a very big influence on the cultural views shared by the individuals. Appreciating this diversity within the appropriate contexts helps us to further our knowledge on issues such as autonomy and democracy. Special tribute could be paid to Marx for his literary works that acted to open up the minds of people in as far as gender issues are concerned. The ideals that characterize the formation of contextual norms and standard pay attention in a very big way to the community and any influential factors that would set up the perfect environments to formulate any serious norms. Projections into the contemporary world, however, seem to display a totally different picture; that of unity in the cultural affiliations. A culture is viewed as the basic functional unit of a society which further forms the basis of a nation. This in a unifying fashion integrates the various cultures thereby killing off the whole idea of culture relativism. In a basic sense, culture relativism and the process of modernizing the whole world act in dissimilar fashions in as far as the subject matter is concerned. The subject matter in this case is the issue of gender balancing. To this effect criticism has arose from many quarters but specific reference is made to the comparisons that are being made various societies and their specific cultural stand points.
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Universalism acts to explain the universal theories that have been put forward by the cultural projections of specific societies. In as much as universalism tends to iron out the differences witnessed in the rights and equalities accorded to the various genders, the patriarchal aspects that have dominated the specific cultural norms seem to be finding a footing in the in the universal norms and as such placing the noble course of attaining universalism in jeopardy. One critique of universalism is that it looks to a common core of humanity behind all the (supposedly contingent) differences of gender, ethnicity, religion or race, and that in doing so it tends to equate equality with sameness, thereby leaving untouched systemic inequalities in power. Gender activists should therefore have every reason to mistrust the universally accepted standards, as they would, with the passage of time, tend to tilt the scales in favor of patriarchal practices. When understood as a claim about the basic human rights to which all people are entitled, universalism promises more than it can deliver: in extending to all the same set of rights and guarantees, it obscures (and may in some circumstances reinforce) those background inequalities that continue to generate inequalities of power.
Tensions between Sexual and Cultural Equality
Harmonizing all cultures places at risk the minor communities as they lack the security to protect their cultures. Most practices and cultures to be adopted would be predominantly from the more influential communities. In the course of their work, feminists have managed to make distinctions between rights relevant to the assimilated individuals and the immigrant groups that shape up involuntarily. The external and internal forces interplay that shapes up the minority culture must be checked. As such, no group is allowed to discriminate on the other on the basis of sex, race or sexual preference. The idea behind attaining equal citizenship must take into consideration the cultures of the minor communities. There arise difficulties in making clear cut differences between the external rights of a group and the personal rights for persons in the groups. This therefore means that minority groups should be protected with specialized groups.
Appealing to principles that are also negated by Western societies
In a clinical move seen to be hitting back at the western cultures, it is important for us to note that embracing cultures that are in contrast with the western cultures tends to hamper the process of universalism. Practices such as polygamy have been criticized heavily by the westerners yet they are on record for having poor channels for upholding women's rights and equalities. Feminists always try to fight off practices that are peculiar to their cultural backgrounds and as such they tend to make comparisons that are at times uncalled for.
Appealing to principles that are themselves open to critique
The second objection involves in a greater way the worries of universalism. Paying much attention to the individual rights over group rights may send mixed signals on how an individual relates to his community and views aspects of freedom as well as fostering a sense of belonging. The evolution of the market society has been credited for all the conceptions about human freedom which gives value to individuals according to their input levels in the society and not their social status. Principles of justice emerge and change over time. This clearly points out the ability of principles to change over time. On the account of liberalization, separateness has been viewed by many as being important to the process of recognizing women who have, for far too long, been undermined. However, it is worth noting that liberalization gives priority to choice over equality. The biggest problem then comes in obtaining solutions for the conflicts between sexual and cultural equalities.
Failing to understand the social meaning of different practices
Three sub issues characterize this objection. The first is misreading objections to liberalization. Okin’s understanding of the practices she criticizes is limited by her external status, and that particularly in her critique of the religious practices that segregate women from men and enforce their subordination, she over indulges in the basic aspects that she tries to project forth turning a blind eye on the existing conventional patterns on the same.I disagree with this notion opting instead to read contemporary assertions of cultural, religious or ethnic identity, and their associated demands for recognition, as a quintessentially modern phenomenon. The second point is that we do not understand social practices unless we understand the social meanings with which they are invested, and that critics from outside a particular cultural setting are often too ready to dismiss what they do not understand. It therefore becomes difficult for a social critic from an external cultural setting to appreciate or rather understand the conventions of a specific society and their practices. These practices include topics on female genital mutilation and polygamy on the part of men. On her part, Okin has been criticized for her lack of sympathy in as far as religious matters are concerned. It is rather clear that the gulf between believers and non-believers is indeed one of the more difficult ones for the social critic to bridge.
Lastly, humans have been observed to have a tendency to try and make the best job or unequal practices. This means that the individuals practicing these bad practices will be selfishly engrossed into them to an extent that they would not discover any faults in them. Therefore the insiders (members of a particular cultural setting) can claim a deeper understanding of their social meanings and social practices to an extent that they become subordinated by them so that they fail to recognize any injustices. For instance, women in certain cultural backgrounds would be afraid of voicing their thoughts on matters to do with sexual oppression sitting conventions in the traditions to propose so. Other practices would include unequal division of labor and silencing of women in public. We know that people living in unjust or impoverished conditions adjust their expectations downwards in order to survive and remain sane while people living in relations of domination often find it hard to imagine them living under anything else.
It is therefore important for as to review both aspects of modernity and tradition in as far as cultural profiling is concerned considering there is bound to be a clash of interests in the ideas of these two groups; internalists and externalists. The debate and argument that has been occasioned by the different standpoints in these two factions act to generate a healthy forum to understand other cultures even more. Criticism will certainly be better informed when there are internal as well as external critics, and the resulting dialogue may well lead to a different understanding of values and rights.
Equalizing Women's Power
In so doing it is particularly important for as to understand the key issues that have been proposed in the preceding debates. These issues include cultural relativism, principles of justice with reference to the jurisdictions, cultural reification, social meaning and significance of social practices. These issues help us to understand in a greater sense the aspects of gender equality and the importance of attaining those equalities.
The requirements of equality are rarely transparent, and sorting them out is not just a matter of the depth of one's commitment or the clarity of one's thought. It also matters where one is coming from, what kind of experience one brings to bear on the issue, and from what kind of position one speaks. Social customs that reflect patterns of male dominance are often wrongly represented as part of what the society wants to sustain. Where this happens, cultural claims can become a vehicle for maintaining the subordination of women. It should therefore be each and every one’s resolve to promote practices that aim at stabilizing gender related issues as well as conforming traditions to the modernity that has rocked the contemporary world. Considering the requirements of equality are never transparent, we should take it upon ourselves to achieve this to place the women in the same level as the men in light of the alterations (especially in gender related issues) that have characterized the modern cultures.
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