By Jane Friedman
November 13th, 2012
Our Fall 2012 issue, The Female Conscience, leads with a piece that questions whether there IS a female conscience, by Jean Bethke Elshtain. She writes:
Does difference mean that a male and a female live in irreconcilable moral universes and will always find it difficult to agree? Or is the female conscience, if one assumes such exists, complementary to the male’s (and vice versa), and the two together make up a coherent moral whole? On these questions, nineteenth century feminists—leaders of the woman suffrage movement—were torn. Some stressed universality, in which men’s and women’s goals were essentially the same. Others urged a strong pitch for women’s difference, if not moral superiority. There were feminist thinkers and rhetoricians who argued both theses with scant regard for rigorous consistency.
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