After a joke about sexual assault & consent appeared in their student paper, the McGill Law Feminist Collective engineered a takeover (including an apology) and a series of testimonies about consent and sexual assault. Worth your time.
This article reviews feminist critiques of same sex marriage and analyzes how marriage as a ocio-legal institution relates to inequality based on factors such as sex, race and class. The article first identifies how the legalization of same sex marriage can be viewed as a positive step in the quest for equality and recognition of lesbians and gay men. It then describes the legal and statistical trends in relation to marriage in Canada, as one of the first countries to legalize same sex marriage. The heart of the article discusses the key feminist critiques of both marriage and same sex marriage, drawing on an international survey of primarily English language literature. It considers why these critiques have been understated in the debates on same sex marriage and reviews empirical studies on the views of lesbians and gay men on marriage. While acknowledging that legal marriage can offer important rights to some couples, the conclusion suggests alternatives to placing marriage at the center of the lesbian and gay movement for equality and recognition.
In To Right Historical Wrongs, Carmela Murdocca brings together the paradigm of reparative justice and the study of incarceration in an examination of this disconnect between political motivations for amending historical injustices and the vastly disproportionate reality of the penal system — a troubling reality that is often ignored.
Drawing on detailed examination of legal cases, parliamentary debates, government reports, media commentary, and community sources, Murdocca presents a new perspective on discussions of culture-based sentencing in an age of both mass incarceration and historical amendment.
Interested in some of Carmela Murdocca’s other work? Some is listed in her faculty bio, of course, for instance: (2010), “There Is Something in That Water”: Race, Nationalism, and Legal Violence. Law & Social Inquiry, 35: 369–402. (not open access requires access to Wiley pubs) and “From Incarceration to Restoration: National Responsibility, Gender and the Production of Difference,” Social and Legal Studies18, 1 (2009): 23-45. (not open access requires access to Sage Publications) and Murdocca, C., “Pursuing National Responsibility in a post-9/11 World: Seeking Asylum in Canada for Gender Persecution” Not Born A Refugee Woman: Contesting Identities, Rethinking Practices, Hajdukowski-Ahmed, Khanlou and Moussa, eds. Berghahn Books and Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, 2008, 254-263. Three papers are on SSRN here (open access). Enjoy!
Interesting. I have a lot of overlap for the positions that Gruber takes – I look forward to the discussion this should generate!
Today it is prosaic to say that “feminism is dead.” Far from being moribund, feminist legal theory is breaking from its somewhat dogmatic past and forging ahead with new vigor. Many modern feminist legal scholars seek innovative ways to better the legal, social, and economic status of women while simultaneously questioning some of the more troubling moves of second-wave feminism, such as the tendency to essentialize the woman’s experience, the turn to authoritarian state policies, and the characterization of women as pure objects or agents. These “neofeminists” prioritize women’s issues but maintain a strong commitment to distributive justice and recognize that subordination exists on multiple axes. In defining “neofeminism,” this Article examines how the troubling nature of certain second-wave feminist principles engendered new schools of feminist thought. It then illustrates this process in the domestic violence law reform context. The Article concludes that recognizing a new and vibrant progressive feminism can counter exaggerated claims of feminism’s demise, the belief that feminism has been devastated by postmodern critique, and the appropriation of the feminist label by conservative women’s groups.
Some readers might be particularly interested in this bit of the conclusion:
Neofeminism is somewhat of a misnomer because the ideas and critiques it encompasses are not really brand new. Many of the ideas have been germinating since the late 1980s and some even before.330 For example, the racial critique of liberal feminisms essentialist assumptions has been around for decades.331 Left feminists have also long been critical of dominance feminisms down-playing of class and economic status.332 Even the critique of domestic violence criminal reform has existed for over twenty years, having been formulated in response to early discourse and efforts.333 In fact, neofeminism is quite similar to what Martha Minow identified in 1989 as the third stage of feminism.334
Professor Gruber is at University of Colorado Law School. Here is her faculty page, and here is some of her other work (date ascending):
In order to build coalitions and advance a general strategy of antisubordination, one must, as Eric Yamamoto opines, envision oneself as both oppressed and oppressor
” This Article cautions feminists to weigh carefully any purported benefits of reform against the considerable philosophical and practical costs of criminalization strategies before considering making further investments of time, resources, and intellect in rape reform. In advancing this caution, the Article systematically catalogues the existing intra-feminist critiques of rape reform and discusses reasons why these critiques have proven relatively ineffective at reversing the punitive course of reform. The Article then crafts a separate philosophical critique of pro-prosecution approaches by exposing the tension between the basic tenets of feminism and those animating the modern American penal state. Finally, it discusses why purported cultural and utilitarian benefits from rape reform cannot outweigh the destructive effect criminalization efforts have on feminist discourse and the feminist message. The Article concludes that feminists should begin the complicated process of disentangling feminism’s important anti-sexual coercion stance from a criminal justice system currently reflective of hierarchy and unable to produce social justice.”
A “Neo-feminist” Assessment of Rape and Domestic Violence Law Reform, 15 J. RACE, GENDER & JUST. 583 (2012) (not open access)
“It seemed to me that feminist criminal law reform had become less about critiquing the state and society’s treatment of women3 and more about allying with police power to find newer and better ways of putting men, who themselves often occupy subordinate statuses, in jail. 4 These personal experiences informed my view of feminism when I later became a law professor. Concerned over feminists’ embrace of the penal state and prosecutorial interventions, I produced critiques of feminist interventions like domestic violence mandatory arrest and prosecution policies. 5 Because my scholarship is critical of some of the most “successful” feminist law reform interventions, some view it as antifeminist. However, I never intended to reject or recede from feminism. Rather, I dub my analysis a “neo-feminist” critique.”
There is, however, a set of cases in which the lenient treatment of criminal defendants engenders critique from progressive scholars—scholars whose sympathies otherwise lie with defendants‘ rights.
Prof. Ruthann Robson
Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality and Democracy
Watch the talk Ruthann Robson gave at Osgoode September 23, 2013, complete with Introduction by Osgoode’s Kate Sutherland.
Here is a link to the book Dressing Constitutionally and you can see Professor Robson’s blog on the subject of Dressing Constitutionally, here. You can also follow @robsonconlaw on twitter, AND you can check out her writing outside legal scholarship via her website, here.