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PHL400: Week 11 - (NOV 19th) Catharine MacKinnon (Feminism Approach to Rights) .docx

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PHL 400
Mark Clamen

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PHL400: NOV 19 , 2013 Catharine MacKinnon, Feminism, and Women’s Rights -> Catharine: wrote provocatively, call into question the assumed neutrality (formal equality; the language of statute assumes equality, yet in practice they fall quite differently. ) - there is something inadvertently wrong about assuming natural equality, declarations that negotiate that become the problem, not the solution (the equality of some is premised, might actually depend on the assumption of quality; riding on the back of others) -> pragmatic negotiation of infringement of rights vs protection; law in the west has been written by men, written for men until recently = empirical “Crimes of Wars, Crimes of Peace” (1933) MacKinnon - Declaration of human rights had just taken into account mass rape as crimes against humanity - These were selective prosecutions; did not shift the discourse as a whole, just a start - “Rape was just a fact of war” - Behind all law is someone’s story – someone whose blood, if you read closely, leafs through the lines. The question – a question of politics and history and therefore law – is whose experience grounds the law - /laws/ vs laws, actual statutes - Human rights conversations have the same messy words written (positive law, we are reading them because we are subject to them, not for some divine reason; laws are real and we are bound by them) - Confusion of whether human rights are specific articulation is controversial - When human rights of women are brought; their suffering as women are not taken into account – they are suffering as human, purposely neglecting the suffering and the pain of women, as women, we leave this behind at their own risk - “Crime against humanity” is particular, singular, targeted toward the human itself - What happens to women is either too particular to be universal or too universal to be particular, meaning either too human to be female or too female to be human - What most often happens to women escapes the human rights net - Genocidal acts where rape is utilized precisely because of the way it uniquely assaults women - If women were raped and murder, they were counted as murdered; if they were raped, they were not counted at all - This “absence” she says “shapes human rights in substance and in form, effectively defining what a human and a right are”; what violates the dignity/integrity of others is dignity/integrity for them – the rights of women float underneath the rights of others - Sexual inequality, happens in every corner of the world; gender oppression, etc. – Despite these explicit rules, these ‘rights’ are most likely to protect these practices, and bracket them from conversation, from sight - Right to property; always the right to keep property, and keep it from others - Civil wars VS say, a rebellion or protest; comes off as a fair fight, as the country’s “own problem”; there is abuse on both side, but the numbers are lopsided, it is not a fair fight; the aggressor and the aggressed against – “why can’t people just get along” - Fact of all war: in being blind to this we are being blind to the oppression of women; we ca
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