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Lecture 16

PHIL 335 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: British Thermal Unit, Oxymoron, Public SpherePremium

4 pages53 viewsSpring 2018

Course Code
PHIL 335
Kelin Emmett

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McKinnon - influential, she did her degree at Yale, works at Michigan uni in law, was quite
influential in getting legal recognition of sexual harassment in workplace.
- In the 80s
GENDER ITSELF is a sex hierarchy.
- The difference between the sexes is hierarchy.
If we had sexual equality, gender itself would essentially disappear
The mainstream approach of sex equality and inequality.
- And what she thinks is problematic is this fundamental concept: SEX EQUALITY
- In the concept itself, is a fundamental tension…
What IS equality? a kind of equivalence, where you treat like things alike, and unlike things
- But sex is difference… it is seen, and CONSTRUCTED as different. But still,
fundamentally assumes this unlikeness.
- So, the sexes are defined where the mutual difference, one might say.
So right here, laying this out, there is this sort of concept of sex equality and inequality, and
within it, there is this oxymoron.
- We are looking for equivalence, on one hand…
- But then on the other hand, there is this construction of separated-ness.
So, a sense of problematic unattainability.
So some of the things that sex equality law seems to do..
- Well, there are difference between the sexes, yes, but what we are looking for is this sort
of common nature. So what is common, what is the same?
- And thus, anything that belongs to difference, as a part of gender or sex, is NOT
something that the equality will touch.
- “If we come across true differences, then the law does not know what to do.”
- Because it is a matter of discrimination or unequal treatment, THIS is a thing of
real difference.
- That alone is a real problem given that sexes is constructed as difference.
So there’s a tension here. It predisposes same-ness, through the word “equality”, but through
the word “sex”, predisposes differences.
We will never see them as issues of equality, but as issues of difference…
So 2 ways that we can potentially do this…
1) Sameness Standard
Well first, we can say that no, women are the same as men!
→ access to voting rights. Employment opportunities. Public sphere. Same pay. Because we
find more resources at
find more resources at
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