Feminist Political Thought

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Catharine A. MacKinnon - Difference and Dominance: On Sex Discrimination

            Sex equality law has been incredibly ineffective at establishing equality for women. This is problematic when attempting to establish a life that allows women to thrive. Protecting their physical security, self-expression, and respect and dignity. MacKinnon discusses how sex discrimination law bounds gender equality by difference. Which, suggests that women should “be the same as men.” This is at least one way to incorporate sex equality. However, is this notion not problematic? Women and men are different, and thus sex equality cannot be reached for women with them being the same as men. The alternate route of course is being different then men, but gender neutrality is the male standard. While it is no secret to feminists it is known that “man has become the measure of all things.” Subsequently, women are then measured according to their relation to men.
            The important question brought up within this article is how do we get women access to all the things men have, and all the things they have been excluded from. The trouble is, part of what women have now has been because of the struggle. The struggle implemented change, and respect, without the struggle what would the world be like for women today?
            “ Men’s physiology defines most sports, their needs define auto and health insurance coverage, their socially designed biographies define workplace expectations and successful career patterns, their perspectives and concerns define quality in scholarship, their experiences and obsessions define merit, their objectification of life defines art, their military defines family, their inability to get along with each other—their wars and rulerships – defines history, their image defines god, and their genitals define sex.”
                        How can sex equality be equal when the above clearly states that most things are regulated based on men? Which seems a bit odd, because men can’t give birth, and if they are unable to provide life, why are they the center of all of these activities. Sex equality needs to be reshaped, and society needs to be reshaped in order for it to be successful.
            If sex equality was dominant and incorporated women successfully, maybe the amount of rape would be decreased. It seems impossible that with the severe rape attempts, and actual rapes that harm 44 percent of women, nothing is done. Seems incredibly wrong, and if sexual equality existed it probably wouldn’t be the case. The article goes on to state, “men who do not rape women have nothing wrong with their hormones.”  Is raping women considered to be the norm for men? I don’t think so.
            Sexual equality doesn’t include making less money than a man does for the same job. It also doesn’t include being humiliated and degraded in pornography, or being bought and sold. If there were sexual equality women wouldn’t be in situations of poverty, and in jobs that are harmful. Sexual equality would be exactly that. Equal. Women would have the same opportunity as men, and therefore everyone would be equal and have a fair opportunity to secure jobs. While sex doesn’t always play a role in these situations, because class ethnicity and poverty also have a lot to do with some situations, women are normally the ones who find themselves trapped within these situations and this is what needs to change. 
            “Men are as different from women as women are from men.” This needs to be discussed within society, and even though men and women are different in no way suggests that one sex should be treated as inferior to the other. Why is society so threatened with having women at equal status to men? This hierarchy has been around for far too long, and it doesn’t make sense. The difference approach and the dominance approach discussed within this article clear up a lot about sexual equality. The difference approach suggests that male supremacy should be the “status of the sexes.” Men are the standard in this approach. In society however, men are not the standard. The feminist approach, which is the dominance approach, realizes the subordination of women. Will this realization change the way sex equality is viewed?
            I agree with MacKinnon, give women equal power, and let them be heard. Sex equality cannot continually be based on the differences between the sexes. Let the women be heard, and sex equality can truly be that. Equal. 

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