Special Treatment for Lovers

Elizabeth Brake

in Minimizing Marriage

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199774142
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933228 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

Special Treatment for Lovers

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Chapter 4 takes up the question of whether marriage is valuable because it promotes caring relationships. At a distance from care ethics, I argue that care is motivationally and epistemologically valuable, but only in the context of rights and justice. Just, caring relationships have some value, and this value should be recognized wherever it appears. But the special priority accorded marriage and marriage-like relationships marginalizes other forms of caring relationships. To the extent that it sustains ‘amatonormativity’ – the focus on marital and amorous love relationships as special sites of value – marriage undermines other forms of care. For example, the assumption that the most valuable relationships must be marital or amorous devalues friendships. Thus, I argue, marriage and the associated pressures of amatonormativity can threaten care. On the other hand, I argue that contract and bargaining, which are often seen as opposed to care, are not.

Keywords: marriage; friendship; amatonormativity; heteronormativity; care; contract; justice; care ethics; singlism; feminism

Chapter.  12213 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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