Classical ethics is the idea that women are the equal of men. This differs greatly from the commonly held beliefs that women are inferior when it comes to science and math, most physical sports, physical labor, or mental hardship. The “Einstein moment” that this idea wedged itself into mainstream thinking was when the 1982 book by Carol Gilligan was released, titled “In a Different Voice”. In the book she throws forth the notion that women morality lies within relationships and caring for others, instead of equity and justice (Benson).
This idea argues that while still being equal on moral status as men, differences still linger between men and women. This theory asserts that women and men are very different iterations of the human being however the two genders also have drastically different fundamental needs.
This more conservative approach, realizes the victories won on the feminist front, and shifts the focus on women’s talents rather than continuing to push for more feminist ideals. This idea is often referred to as the first wave. People who fall into this bucket believe strongly in the idea that men and women should earn equal pay for equal work.
This group is always on the offensive. They attempt to point out oppression whenever and wherever they witness it. They believe strongly in the double standard that they say exists between men and women, and the fact that careers for men are somehow more important than careers of women, often citing the pay differences. A sticking point for radicals is that women’s sports are never spoken in the same breath as men’s sports (Radical Feminism).
Feminism in the Military
I was the final boot camp, back in 1998, before the coed boot camp started at Fort Benning. I can tell you that from what I witnesses while serving was that women were almost always tasked with duties such as medic, supply, or driver. I only served four years, but in that time it never changed. I can say that while serving overseas in Kosovo and Haiti, women were treated with much more equality. They pulled guard shifts, often half the time of men, and participated in regular training with the men. In talking with recruiters, they would almost without fail; say they routed out the radicals in order to divide the ranks.