The central feature of MacKinnon’s theory is that all women are oppressed through their sexuality. She argues that the State is predominantly male. Hence, the State mirrors the male perspective despite law’s alleged neutrality. She drew an analogy between the State and men, where the State are the highest manifestation of power relations in society, while men have power both physically and socially. As a reflection of male power, the law enforces rights which legitimise the male’s perception of the world.MacKinnon analysed rape law where she asserted that law continuously adopts a male point of view regarding sexual experience, therefore unable to accommodate women’s experience of rape. The language of sex in society reveals that our understanding of the relation of men to women is that men is an active subject, and women is passive – he ‘does it’ to her. In law, where a man has no intention to rape, there is no violation – they simply had sex. There is a tendency to view rape as only a paradigm of violent attack by a stranger, in dark alleys accompanied by bruises and torn clothes. When in reality, rape can occur in the form of coercion by husbands, fathers, ‘date rape’, or through the use of economic or other types of power to get sex.The law is viewed from a male’s perspective and this perspective becomes an objective reality. This leads to men objectifying women into tools for their own sexual pleasure, ignoring that women are humans in their own right. For instance, women in pornography are portrayed as collections of body parts for men to fantasise about. According to MacKinnon, the eroticisation of violence and submission in pornography encourages the ideology in which women are understood to find male force sexually attractive, and in which consent is not important. Radical feminism differs greatly from formalism. MacKinnon maintains that behind the apparent neutrality of the law, it is male and is most tyrannical towards women when it claims to be sex blind. It is impossible to separate the law from politics. She also argues that even though the law were to achieve neutrality and objectivity, it might not be beneficial as this would not reflect reality. Hence, she argues for legal reform to stop enslaving women to men’s needs. However, MacKinnon’s theory has loopholes as she assumes that all women have similar needs and experiences. The truth is, women face discrimination differently depending on their race, religion, and sexuality, which cannot be unified into a single feminist theory. She has simply combined issues of race, class, and sexuality into the category of gender oppression.
August 24, 2019 0 Comments