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Feminist Communication Ethics

Linda Steiner


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Feminist ethics is concerned with how people can live together with others in healthy, productive ways and how we can build social or political structures to support this. As a way of thinking and acting that is fundamentally transformative and concerned with human good, feminism is itself normative. Its resistance to codification and preference for contextualization mean that its applications for communication and media are implied, rather than explicit; feminist philosophers, especially ethicists, rarely focus on media per se. Nonetheless, feminist ethics – derived from feminist insights and theories – is highly relevant to communication and media, as practices and as subjects of research (→  Ethics in Journalism ; Ethics of Media Content ). Of central concern for feminists are media representations: news that demonizes subordinated populations or neglects vulnerable communities (→  news ; Bias in the News ), sexually exploitative advertising, entertainment content that traffics in gross stereotyping, objectification, and symbolic annihilation (→  Sexism in the Media ). Besides issues of content, feminist approaches to ethical dilemmas in media may be derived from several strands of feminist work, each elaborated below. First is the issue of feminist ethics itself, a debate over whether women and men behave in fundamentally different ways, including with respect to ethical reasoning. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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