The Contemporary Sexual Contract
Carole Pateman’s, The Sexual Contract, stands in defense with feminist arguments and stands against inequality between genders in the Social Contract. It speaks on the relationship between men and women in a patriarchal society. A woman and man’s relationship is determined by the man based off of history and how it is passed on. Pateman also speaks on the shift from “classical patriarchy” to the contemporary understanding of patriarchy. In either sense, Pateman argues that there is no shift for the rights of women.
The argument of this article talks about how women are preserved in the world. Within these contracts created by men in high command, women are placed within particular parts of the texts. Pateman talks about women being brought up in the marriage, prostitution, and motherhood contracts. These contracts give men the “authority” to control women in any sense. An example is stated in the marriage contract where men are able to sexually use their wives however they please, even against the woman’s consent. Contracts can be seen with many issues. One including the fact that only men are considered “individuals.” Pateman says “sexual difference is political difference. Sexual difference is the difference between freedom and subjection.” This statement runs true for most of the contracts that were created by men of the patriarchy. Being a man means there is privilege and freedom just by being a male. By being a woman, there is a lack of what is to be considered “true” identity and ability to live in society without being belittled.
This piece speaks with feminist arguments that are much more contemporary than contracts that have been mentioned. Pateman empowers women in society as there isn’t equality, like there should be. The Sexual Contract enables women to become more equal in comparison to men. It also calls out the problematic ideas other contracts like the Social Contract offer to spread around society.