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FEMINIST LEGAL THEORY
* * Liberal feminists (sameness), cultural feminists (differences), and radical
feminists (subordination and dominance).
1st wave - liberal; 2nd wave - liberal, cultural and radical; 3rd wave -
postmodern. Key concepts of FLT
1. Sexism exists in society, by privileging men and disadvantaging or
2. A belief that society is patriarchal; FLTs seek to analyse the contribution of
law in constructing, maintaining, reinforcing and perpetuating patriarchy.
3. Recognition that there is no unified FLT.
Liberal Feminism (sameness)
* Equality for women and men is to be measured by a 'sameness' standard;
the sameness standard considers liberalism's concerns with barriers to
female's progression, e.g. political voice, voting, employment, property and
education. * 'Equality' means an equality of opportunity. * Rights for women are to mirror the existing rights for men, e.g. there
should be equal employment rights (but not necessarily equal
employment in terms of numbers). * Legislative reform by itself can be an effective instrument. * Ideals: liberty, equality, rationality, autonomy, individuality, neutrality and
impartiality. * Liberal rights: civil and political rights with a base in a 'negative' freedom
from the state. * Assumptions: status quo is natural, un--coerced and good; that a universal
standard of humanity exists.
The Pornography Debate
* Liberal FLTs lean to a pro--pornography position, depending on the degree of
harm that they associate with pornography. * It exemplifies: free speech, constitutional protections' the free market, an
individual subject's rights to self--determination and freedom, and the erotic,
not the harmful. * Ronald Dworkin: an individual's right to distribute pornography trumps the
utilitarian goal of improving society in aggregate by banning it.
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