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Political Science
POLI 201
Jay Makarenko

POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES II PART 1 Oct. 17 2013 TUE Lec: Socialism THUR Lec: Feminism Today’s Lecture: 1. Intro to Feminism 2. Types of Feminism 3. Case Study: Sexual Assault Trials FEMINISM AS AN IDEOLOGY Fundamental Idea: -Society is often structures unequally, with men oppressing, exploiting or dominating women. Key Assumptions: -Collectivism: society can be viewed in collectivist terms based on gender (male and female). (Other social distinctions can also be important- economic, ethnicity, race, etc.) -Inequality: the relations between these gender groups is highly unequal (distribution of goods and/or relations of power) FEMINISM: IDEOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Diversity in Thought: - Like other ideologies, feminism is a highly complex system of thought with different variants. - Understand the notion of inequality, its causes, and its solutions in many different ways. Feminism and Other Ideologies: - Feminism values are often incorporated into other types of ideologies - Example: Liberal and Marxist Feminism Types of Feminism: Book Table - Liberal Feminism (Individual freedom for women) (Oppression: Paternalism) - Marxist Feminism (Economic equality for women) (Oppression: Economic slavery of women) - Radical Feminism (Social and psychological freedom for women) (Oppression: FEMINISM AND THE LAW - An important focus of feminist analysis has been the law (feminist critical legal studies.) - Concern that the law enforces unjust treatment of women (inequality before the law, paternalism, economic slavery, patriarchy) Key Areas of Feminist Legal Studies: - Family Law: divorce; child custody; child and spousal support. - Reproductive Rights: free choice to have an abortion - Employment Equality: equal opportunity and pay in the workplace. - Criminal Law: violence and abuse against women. Focus today on criminal law and the issue of sexual assault trials. SEXUALASSAULT TRIALS: THE DEBATE - Sexual assault trials represent a difficult and complex clash between common liberal values and feminist concerns for gender equality. Process of Sexual Assault Trials: - What do victims experience when they enter the judicial system? - Does this process promote the oppression and exploitation of women? Balancing Competing Interests: - What Interests come into play when sexual assault cases are litigated? o Feminist concern for privacy rights for victims o Liberal concern for the legal rights of the accused. CONCEPT OF PRIVACY - Privacy is a well establishing and highly valued interest in the liberal Anglo-American legal tradition. General Definition: - The right to be free from intrusion (by the state or others) into one’s private sphere. - Examples: property; thoughts; body VALUING PRIVACY Self-respect and Dignity: - Intrusion into personal space might be humiliating or degrading. - Example: Exposing one’s thoughts/feelings to judgment by others. Prerequisite for Freedom: - Intrusion might represent a barrier to freedom and living a life of one’s choosing. - Example: If we are forces to open up our lives to public scrutiny, what impact will it have n our choices in life PRIVACY AND SEXUALASSAULT: FEMINIST CRITIQUES - The concept of privacy is often interpreted by courts in a manner that contributes to the problem of sexual assault of women. Traditional Approach to Privacy: - Principle of privacy was used to shield men (husbands/fathers) from prosecution of sexual assaults. Contemporary Approach to Privacy: - Principle of privacy has been overly-narrowed for women, discouraging them from bringing forth allegations of sexual assault. HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION OF PRIVACY Early Approach to Family Relations: - The family relationship was considered a “private” matter in which the state was not to intervene. - Provided offenders with the cover to physically or sexual abuse women in their families (wives, daughters).
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