POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES II PART 1
Oct. 17 2013
TUE Lec: Socialism
THUR Lec: Feminism
1. Intro to Feminism
2. Types of Feminism
3. Case Study: Sexual Assault Trials
FEMINISM AS AN IDEOLOGY
-Society is often structures unequally, with men oppressing, exploiting or
-Collectivism: society can be viewed in collectivist terms based on gender (male
and female). (Other social distinctions can also be important- economic, ethnicity,
-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
- Understand the notion of inequality, its causes, and its solutions in many
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:
- 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
- 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.
- The right to be free from intrusion (by the state or others) into one’s private
- Examples: property; thoughts; body
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
- 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).