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Women's Lives, Men's Laws

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In the past twenty-five years, no one has been more instrumental than Catharine MacKinnon in making equal rights real for women. As Peter Jennings once put it, more than anyone else in legal studies, she has made it easier for other women to seek justice. This collection, the first since MacKinnon's celebrated Feminism Unmodified appeared in 1987, brings together previousl In the past twenty-five years, no one has been more instrumental than Catharine MacKinnon in making equal rights real for women. As Peter Jennings once put it, more than anyone else in legal studies, she has made it easier for other women to seek justice. This collection, the first since MacKinnon's celebrated Feminism Unmodified appeared in 1987, brings together previously uncollected and unpublished work in the national arena from 1980 to the present, defining her clear, coherent, consistent approach to reframing the law of men on the basis of the lives of women. By making visible the deep gender bias of existing law, MacKinnon has recast legal debate and action on issues of sex discrimination, sexual abuse, prostitution, pornography, and racism. The essays in this volume document and illuminate some of the momentous and ongoing changes to which this work contributes; the recognition of sexual harassment, rape, and battering as claims for sexual discrimination; the redefinition of rape in terms of women's actual experience of sexual violation; and the reframing of the pornography debate around harm rather than morality. The perspectives in these essays have played an essential part in changing American law and remain fundamental to the project of building a sex-equal future.


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In the past twenty-five years, no one has been more instrumental than Catharine MacKinnon in making equal rights real for women. As Peter Jennings once put it, more than anyone else in legal studies, she has made it easier for other women to seek justice. This collection, the first since MacKinnon's celebrated Feminism Unmodified appeared in 1987, brings together previousl In the past twenty-five years, no one has been more instrumental than Catharine MacKinnon in making equal rights real for women. As Peter Jennings once put it, more than anyone else in legal studies, she has made it easier for other women to seek justice. This collection, the first since MacKinnon's celebrated Feminism Unmodified appeared in 1987, brings together previously uncollected and unpublished work in the national arena from 1980 to the present, defining her clear, coherent, consistent approach to reframing the law of men on the basis of the lives of women. By making visible the deep gender bias of existing law, MacKinnon has recast legal debate and action on issues of sex discrimination, sexual abuse, prostitution, pornography, and racism. The essays in this volume document and illuminate some of the momentous and ongoing changes to which this work contributes; the recognition of sexual harassment, rape, and battering as claims for sexual discrimination; the redefinition of rape in terms of women's actual experience of sexual violation; and the reframing of the pornography debate around harm rather than morality. The perspectives in these essays have played an essential part in changing American law and remain fundamental to the project of building a sex-equal future.

30 review for Women's Lives, Men's Laws

  1. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Björö

    Although I am not from the USA or any Common law nation for that matter, MacKinnon's collection of speeches and articles were of greatest value. The particulars would, of course, be of more interest if they had more direct connotations to the juridical system in use in Sweden, where I live, but its over-all usefulness, regardless, should only prove how well-versed MacKinnon is. From prostitution, pornography, rape laws, sex discrimination, and work-place harassment, she delivers well-written tex Although I am not from the USA or any Common law nation for that matter, MacKinnon's collection of speeches and articles were of greatest value. The particulars would, of course, be of more interest if they had more direct connotations to the juridical system in use in Sweden, where I live, but its over-all usefulness, regardless, should only prove how well-versed MacKinnon is. From prostitution, pornography, rape laws, sex discrimination, and work-place harassment, she delivers well-written texts and speeches; cementing her material feminist agenda of proving how sexuality (and sex) is monolithic in a male-dominated society. I do not concur with all of her points, nonetheless, the over-all stylistics of the texts is an excellent contribution to MacKinnon's oeuvre. It aptly shows how liberal notions such as universality, neutrality, equality, consent, contract, etc., are as a matter of fact interlaced and saturated with patriarchal flavour. "Liberal" thinkers from Aristotle to Foucault are criticised, psychoanalytic thinkers, postmodernism, liberalism, right- and left-wing politics and philosophy, are all debunked (if one accepts MacKinnon's conclusions). Even if one strongly disagrees with radical feminism (as I do), it is hard not to appreciate her contribution to a field which has been substantially dominated by poststructuralist feminists, from hooks, to Spivak, to Spelman, to Butler; MacKinnon shows the importance of feminist epistemology, consciousness-raising, and women's (uniform) realities.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    "The Roar on the Other Side of Silence" makes me so goddamn mad and sad. I believe I've read it before, but the essay REALLY pops and the smear campaign and defamation she and Dworkin were subject to even more sinister after engaging with more of her legal scholarship and theorizing. There are several men I wish I could have the legal apparatus to sue the shit out of. "The Roar on the Other Side of Silence" makes me so goddamn mad and sad. I believe I've read it before, but the essay REALLY pops and the smear campaign and defamation she and Dworkin were subject to even more sinister after engaging with more of her legal scholarship and theorizing. There are several men I wish I could have the legal apparatus to sue the shit out of.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donna Jo Atwood

    This book was extremely difficult to read--many times I had to go back a reread a sentence several time because it made no sense to me, or seemed contradictory to the points she was trying to make, which seemed to me to be that women are oppressed because men make the laws, society (Men) allows women to be marginalized legally by stacking the deck legally. She is especially interested in rape and in pornography and the way society deals with them. Only for the dedicated.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    haven't finished it haven't finished it

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tigbench

    This is the book I have searched to find for the past decade! It is perfect!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maria Amir

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ran Edwards

  8. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mariam Youssef

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eppu B.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lexie Cress

  14. 5 out of 5

    jamie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bill Reeves

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti McHenry

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brett Stevens

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anya Callahan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah DiMento

  20. 5 out of 5

    Isabelwilsonscott

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lillie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelvin

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dsc

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Mulcahy-Miller

  26. 4 out of 5

    Florajones

  27. 5 out of 5

    Seth

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tomás Narvaja

  29. 5 out of 5

    Autumn

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan Looper-friedman

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