Essay Catharine MacKinnon's Book Feminism Unmodified

Essay Catharine MacKinnon's Book Feminism Unmodified

Length: 1292 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Catharine MacKinnon's Book Feminism Unmodified


Catharine MacKinnon, in her book Feminism Unmodified, takes a unique approach to the problem of gender inequality in America. She claims that pornography defines the way in which America’s patriarchal society perpetuates male dominance, and attacks traditional liberal methods that defend pornography on the basis of the first amendment’s right to free speech. According to MacKinnon, pornography is not an example of speech but rather an act. She proposes that this act discriminates against women as a class, and therefore violates their civil rights and should be outlawed. MacKinnon’s critics may think her argument is excessively radical, and contemporary society may not embrace the changes she suggests. However, even if she is deliberately provocative Catharine MacKinnon’s message is worthwhile: The American male power structure dominates women and must be changed. Establishing sexual equity in this power structure would be a major step in the struggle for gender equality within American communities.

For a long time traditional liberal legal theory has struggled to win gender equality through the courts, but has not made the necessary gains. This theory advises women to change their relationship to the male power structure, and offers two ways in which women can do this to attain equity: the “sameness” approach and the “difference” approach. The first approach, “sameness,” suggests that women should stress male-female similarities. Traditional theory justifies this approach by saying, “to the extent that women are no different from men they deserve what (men) have” (33). Traditional theory advises women who feel different to from men use the second approach, and stress t...


... middle of paper ...


...pornography often objectify women and force them into submissive positions in movies and society. But pornography has a detrimental affect on men as well, in that it “hurts men’s capacity to relate to women” (189). Generally, men consider it is better to have power, and do not recognize the need for men and women to work together. Pornography is one of the largest obstacles that prevents men from seeing this truth, and the practice should be banned. Even according to MacKinnon’s definition of pornography, sexually explicit material could remain legal if it portrayed both sexes equally. However, this can not happen until men and women are equal in society. If this is accomplished, the male need to view pornography would drastically decrease. Women could become part of the power structure and world on their own terms. Gender equality would be a victory for both sexes.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Feminism in "Top Girls" and "The Handmaid's Tale" Essay

- Both Top Girls and The Handmaid’s Tale relate to contemporary political issues and feminism. Top Girls was written by Caryl Churchill, a political feminist playwright, as a response to Thatcher’s election as a first female British Prime Minister. Churchill was a British social feminist in opposition to Thatcherism. Top Girls was regarded as a unique play about the challenges working women face in the contemporary business world and society at large. Churchill once wrote: ‘Playwrights don’t give answers, they ask questions’, [6] and I think she is proving it in Top Girls: she brings up many tough questions over the course of the play, including what success is and if women’s progress in the w...   [tags: Feminism]

Strong Essays
1644 words (4.7 pages)

Feminism, the Public and the Private Essay

- Feminism, the Public and the Private Conceptualizations of the public and the private have always been central to the politics of second-wave feminism. The slogan, "the personal is political," implied that private life was often the site, if not the cause, of women's oppression. In 1974, some of the authors of Woman, Culture and Society (Lamphere and Rosaldo 1974), one of the founding texts of academic feminism, asserted that the universal cause of women's oppression lay in their confinement to the domestic sphere....   [tags: Feminism Human Rights Research Paper]

Strong Essays
1467 words (4.2 pages)

Feminism In The Handmaid's Tale Essay

- Feminism In The Handmaid's Tale       Feminism as we know it began in the mid 1960's as the Women's Liberation Movement. Among its chief tenants is the idea of women's empowerment, the idea that women are capable of doing and should be allowed to do anything men can do. Feminists believe that neither sex is naturally superior. They stand behind the idea that women are inherently just as strong and intelligent as the so-called stronger sex. Many writers have taken up the cause of feminism in their work....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Strong Essays
1574 words (4.5 pages)

Pragmatism, Perfectionism, and Feminism Essays

- Pragmatism, Perfectionism, and Feminism ABSTRACT: I consider the revision of pragmatism by three leading neopragmatists: Richard Rorty, Richard Bernstein, and Cornel West. I argue that their vision of pragmatism lacks a teleology, though a teleology is suggested by Bernstein's description of a pragmatic ethos. I appeal to Stanley Cavell's notion of 'moral perfectionism' to suggest a kind of teleology that is available to pragmatism. Finally, I find the weakness of pragmatism done without teleology well exemplified in the exchange between Rorty and Nancy Frazer at Rorty's 1990 Tanner Lecture....   [tags: Feminist Feminism Pragmatism Essays]

Free Essays
3340 words (9.5 pages)

Feminism and Gibson's Neuromancer Essay

- Today many women are stereotyped in their jobs and social roles as defined by society as a whole. William Gibson's Neuromancer where one woman is used for specific reasons. The female character, Molly, is used for sex and her body is used for other sexual performances. In this book we find numerous examples of how she is being used sexually and how she must act in her job to survive. The author uses horrific examples that are related to how some women are treated today. The feminist approach is used throughout this book because of how the character Molly is being treated....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Free Essays
537 words (1.5 pages)

Feminism in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar Essay

- Feminism in The Bell Jar In Sylvia Plath's autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, the reader learns of the adventures of a young woman in a male-dominated society that will not let her achieve her true potential. Plath's alter ego, Esther, is thus driven to a nervous breakdown and attempts suicide numerous times. In many ways, this novel is a feminist text, centered around the struggles of a young woman who cannot reach her goals in our male-dominated society. People close to Esther, do not accept her talents as a poet and writer, but rather try to push her into traditionally more feminine roles....   [tags: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism]

Free Essays
418 words (1.2 pages)

What is Feminism? Essay

- What is Feminism. What is feminism. By general definition, feminism is a philosophy in which women and their contributions are valued. It is based on social, political and economical equality for women. Feminists can be anyone in the population, men, women, girl or boys. Feminism can also be described as a movement. A revolution that includes women and men who wish the world to be equal without boundaries. These boundaries or blockades are better known as discrimination and biases against gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status and economic status....   [tags: Carol Gilligan Feminism Gender Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
762 words (2.2 pages)

Feminism Essay

- Feminism The notion of difference among the sexes has been studied extensively in terms of cognition and brain activity. An MRI can back these claims, showing male and female brains 'lighting up' in different locations based upon different stimuli. Anyone with a close relationship to a child can attest to the fact that they were born with certain traits. Perhaps their nephew is very shy, while their niece has never met a stranger. In other words, some difference among individuals is innate, fundamental....   [tags: Women Rights Feminist Papers]

Strong Essays
3953 words (11.3 pages)

Feminism Essay

- Feminism There has been a great deal of discussion over the Feminist & Gender Studies Program changing its name to Gender & Sexuality. The basis of this debate is over the exclusion of the word "feminist" from the title. It is important to question how this modification will affect the direction of the program and the feminist movement as a whole. The categorization of this area of study must be sensitive to the complex social issues it represents. Bringing the term "gender" to the fore-front, and focusing less on women, is a necessary "part of the attempt by contemporary feminists to stake claim to a certain definitional ground, to insist on the inadequacies of existing bodies of men" (Sco...   [tags: Feminism Sociology Essays]

Strong Essays
1514 words (4.3 pages)

Essay Feminism

- Island of the Blue DolphinsFeminism The issue I have chosen to cover is feminism. There are many different opinions and thoughts on this issue. Despite all the grumblings about feminism, 66% of men still feel they hold a more powerful position in society. But, within relationships, they concede, it is women who resolve the day to day issues, while men settle the life changing disputes (“Are you a normal guy?” 19). In the beginning, there was the “first wave”, the feminists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who fought for women’s suffrage....   [tags: essays papers]

Free Essays
771 words (2.2 pages)