The Times yesterday ran some features on what it means to be a 21st century woman, which highlighted one of my gripes against a particular form of feminism - its elevation of ambition.
For example, Kathy Lette complained about the glass ceiling, Mary Beard decried the fact that it was not a compliment to call a woman ambitious, and Noreena Hertz advised young women: “Don’t feel guilty about striving for power.”
What all this omits is that ambition - in men and women - is a bad thing.
Now, to be clear, I do not mean ambition in pursuit of excellence. It’s admirable to want to be the best musician, athlete, economist or street-sweeper.
Instead, the problem is with ambition in the pursuit of what MacIntyre called the goods of effectiveness - power and wealth, the sort that Noreena advocates. (...)
Of course, everything I’ve said applies to men’s ambition as well as women’s. So why pick on feminism? In one big sense we shouldn’t. But there are two things that worry me.
One is that this particular form of feminism helps to legitimate ambition. And people are never more ruthless than when they believe they have right on their side.
The other is that feminism - in this sense - is a diversion. In encouraging women to climb up hierarchies, it deflects attention from the question: should our economic and political life be structured hierarchically at all?
Monday, June 27, 2011
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 04:23