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More than half a century after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defined what a human being is and is entitled to, Catharine MacKinnon asks: Are women human yet? If women were regarded as human, would they be sold into sexual slavery worldwide; veiled, silenced, and imprisoned in homes; bred, and worked as menials for little or no pay; stoned for sex outside marriage or burned within it; mutilated genitally, impoverished economically, and mired in illiteracy--all as a matter of course and without effective recourse? The cutting edge is where law and culture hurts, which is where MacKinnon operates in these essays on the transnational status and treatment of women. Taking her gendered critique of the state to the international plane, ranging widely intellectually and concretely, she exposes the consequences and significance of the systematic maltreatment of women and its systemic condonation. And she points toward fresh ways--social, legal, and political--of targeting its toxic orthodoxies. MacKinnon takes us inside the workings of nation-states, where the oppression of women defines community life and distributes power in society and government. She takes us to Bosnia-Herzogovina for a harrowing look at how the wholesale rape and murder of women and girls there was an act of genocide, not a side effect of war. She takes us into the heart of the international law of conflict to ask--and reveal--why the international community can rally against terrorists' violence, but not against violence against women. A critique of the transnational status quo that also envisions the transforming possibilities of human rights, this bracing book makes us look as never before at an ongoing war too long undeclared.
When it was published twenty-five years ago, Catharine MacKinnon's pathbreaking work Sexual Harassment of Working Women had a major impact on the development of sexual harassment law. The U. S. Supreme Court accepted her theory of sexual harassment in 1986. Here MacKinnon collaborates with eminent authorities to appraise what has been accomplished in the field and what still needs to be done. An introductory essay by Reva Siegel considers how sexual harassment came to be regulated as sex discrimination. Contributors discuss how law can best address sexual harassment; the importance and definition of consent and unwelcomeness; issues of same-sex harassment; questions of institutional responsibility for sexual harassment in both employment and education settings; considerations of freedom of speech; effects of sexual harassment doctrine on gender and racial justice; and transnational approaches to the problem. An afterword by MacKinnon assesses the changes wrought by sexual harassment law in the past quarter century.
When is rape not a crime? When it's pornography--or so First Amendment law seems to say: in film, a rape becomes "free speech. " Pornography, Catharine MacKinnon contends, is neither speech nor free. Pornography, racial and sexual harassment, and hate speech are acts of intimidation, subordination, terrorism, and discrimination, and should be legally treated as such. Only Words is a powerful indictment of a legal system at odds with itself, its First Amendment promoting the very inequalities its Fourteenth Amendment is supposed to end. In the bold and compelling style that has made her one of our most provocative legal critics, MacKinnon depicts a society caught in a vicious hypocrisy. Words that offer bribes or fix prices or segregate facilities are treated by law as acts, but words and pictures that victimize and target on the basis of race and sex are not. Pornography--an act of sexual domination reproduced in the viewing--is protected by law in the name of "the free and open exchange of ideas. " But the proper concern of law, MacKinnon says, is not what speech says, but what it does. What the "speech" of pornography and of racial and sexual harassment and hate propaganda does is promote and enact the power of one social group over another. Cutting with surgical deftness through cases of harassment in the workplace and on college campuses, through First Amendment cases involving Nazis, Klansmen, and pornographers, MacKinnon shows that as long as discriminatory practices are protected as free speech, equality will be only a word.
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