By Carol Smart
During this now tested textual content the writer offers her research of the facility of legislation and argues for a feminist post-structuralist strategy. She reviews on pornography, in addition to discussing fresh study on rape trials and abortion laws.
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Additional resources for Feminism and the Power of Law (Sociology of Law and Crime)
Bottomley 1987:12) Anne Bottomley is here raising the question of whether the very core of law—the means by which law is differentiated from other forms of 20 THE POWER OF THE LAW knowledge—is gendered. We are now familiar with other forms of feminist criticism—for example the criticism of law for excluding women (Sachs and Wilson 1978), or the criticism of the content of legislation (Atkins and Hoggett 1984), or the criticism of the specific practices of law (Adler 1987). It is a fairly recent innovation for feminists to start to criticize the very tools of legal method which have been presumed to be neutral.
R. at 153) 35 FEMINISM AND THE POWER OF LAW The question that must be asked is how these beliefs are maintained. g. sex)? What (hu(man’s) experience confirms that women lie in these matters whilst men do not? Why is it held that a woman’s ‘no’ means ‘yes’ if she happens to be referring to sex? All of these statements are a denial of women’s reality. But the transformation of a rape into ‘normal sex’ during the rape trial is often far more subtle than this. Judges do not have to instruct juries to understand that a woman’s no means yes; they are led to this conclusion by innuendo, ‘common sense’, and the very vulnerability of the woman that contributed to her rape in the first place.
Inasmuch as law has a direct practical application, the dissenter in law is more subversive than in a discipline like sociology. The former challenges the standing of judges, barristers, and solicitors as well as academic lawyers. Little wonder then that feminism has such a hard time taking root in law. Mary Jane Mossman (1986) has suggested that law (at least legal method) is probably impervious to the feminist challenge. It is perhaps worth considering her view in some detail. In her article ‘Feminism and Legal Method: The Difference It Makes’ Mossman identifies three main elements to traditional legal method.
Feminism and the Power of Law (Sociology of Law and Crime) by Carol Smart