Intersection With Social Justice : A Social And Power Analysis
Intersection with Social Justice
Feminist activism aims to drive positive social change for women, which is compatible with positive psychology’s goal to improve peoples’ lives. However, while some aspects of positive psychology are consistent with feminist strategies of empowerment and strength-based approaches, positive psychology does not include a social and power analysis, which has the potential to harm women by maintaining the status quo (Englar-Carlson and Smart, 2014). To make positive psychology more relevant for women of diverse backgrounds, a culturally embedded approach needs to be implemented, as well as an emphasis on power and privilege.
Furthermore, the positive psychology approach presents complex issues with regard to the perceptions of “women’s traits,” which, at least in part, are based on oppression, such as the idea of women’s “communal” nature and “niceness” and therefore their subordination to men (Englar-Carlson and Smart, 2014). While these traits can be viewed as desirable in the field of positive psychology, therapists have to be aware of the context. In some cases, positive psychology is supposed to cultivate the trait of “forgiveness,” but the concern is that this often revolves around women’s issues (e.g., victims of violence, infidelity, abandonment) and that women had to develop these traits to survive, not because it was optimal for their well-being.
Therefore, traits should not be seen as…