By Catharine A. MacKinnon

Catharine A. MacKinnon, famous feminist and criminal student, explores and develops her unique theories and useful proposals on sexual politics and legislation. those discourses, initially brought as speeches, have been brilliantly woven right into a booklet that keeps all of the spontaneity and accessibility of a dwell presentation. MacKinnon deals a different retrospective at the legislations of sexual harassment, which she designed and has labored for a decade to identify, and a prospectus at the legislations of pornography, which she proposes to alter within the subsequent ten years. real in voice, sweeping in scope, startling in readability, pressing, by no means compromised and infrequently visionary, those discourses boost a brand new concept of intercourse inequality and picture new percentages for social swap.

via those engaged works on concerns reminiscent of rape, abortion, athletics, sexual harassment, and pornography, MacKinnon seeks feminism by itself phrases, unconstrained through the bounds of previous traditions. She argues that viewing gender as an issue of sameness and difference--as almost all present idea and legislations have done--covers up the truth of gender, that's a approach of social hierarchy, an imposed inequality of strength. She unearths a political method of male dominance and feminine subordination that sexualizes energy for males and powerlessness for girls. She analyzes the failure of equipped feminism, fairly criminal feminism, to change this , exposing the way in which male supremacy supplies girls a survival stake within the procedure that destroys them.

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Most of these works would not appear on the syllabi of feminist theory courses today. In fact, with one or two exceptions, this material is out of print, hard to find, or not well known. Significantly, work within feminist theory that is difficult to comprehend is more likely to be read in theory courses, especially on the graduate level. The recent rise to prominence of a particular style of French feminist theory which is linguis­ tically convoluted is an example of this trend. While such work enriches our understanding of gender politics, it is important to remember that this is not a universal discourse, that it is politically and culturally specific, and emerges from specific relationships particular French feminist scholars have to their political and social reality.

Recognition of the inter-connectedness of sex, race, and class highlights the diversity of experience, compelling TALKING BACK 23 redefinition of the terms for unity. If women do not share “common op­ pression,” what then can serve as a basis for our coming together? Unlike many feminist comrades, I believe women and men must share a common understanding— a basic knowledge of what feminism is— if it is ever to be a powerful mass-based political movement. In Feminist Theory: from margin to center, I suggest that defining feminism broadly as “a move­ ment to end sexism and sexist oppression” would enable us to have a com­ mon political goal.

This knowledge should consistently inform the direction of feminist theory and practice. Unfortunately, racism and class elitism among women has frequently led to the suppression and distortion of this connection so that it is now neces­ sary for feminist thinkers to critique and revise much feminist theory and the direction of feminist movement. This effort at revision is perhaps most evident in the current widespread acknowledgement that sexism, racism, and class exploitation constitute interlocking systems of domination—that sex, race, and class, and not sex alone, determine the nature of any female’s identity, status, and circumstance, the degree to which she will or will not be dominated, the extent to which she will have the power to dominate.

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