16 Pages

Feminism and Modern Friendship: Dislocating the Community*

WithMarilyn Friedman

A predominant theme in much feminist thought has been the critique of the abstract individualism which underlies some important versions of liberal political theory. Communitarians share with most feminist theorists a rejection of the abstractly individualist conception of self and society so prominent in modern liberal thought. This self—atomistic, presocial, empty of all metaphysical content except abstract reason and will—is able to stand back from all the contingent moral commitments and norms of its particular historical context and assess each one of them in the Sight of impartial and universal criteria of reason. In general, friendship has had an obvious importance to feminist aspirations as the basis of the bond which is called "sisterhood." Friendship is more likely than many other close personal relationships to provide social support for people who are idiosyncratic, whose unconventional values and deviant life-styles make them victims of intolerance from family members and others who are unwillingly related to them.