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Are Women Human?by Catharine Mackinnon
Synopses & Reviews
More than half a century after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defined what a human being is and is entitled to, Catharine MacKinnon asks: Are women human yet? If women were regarded as human, would they be sold into sexual slavery worldwide; veiled, silenced, and imprisoned in homes; bred, and worked as menials for little or no pay; stoned for sex outside marriage or burned within it; mutilated genitally, impoverished economically, and mired in illiteracy — all as a matter of course and without effective recourse?
The cutting edge is where law and culture hurts, which is where MacKinnon operates in these essays on the transnational status and treatment of women. Taking her gendered critique of the state to the international plane, ranging widely intellectually and concretely, she exposes the consequences and significance of the systematic maltreatment of women and its systemic condonation. And she points toward fresh ways — social, legal, and political — of targeting its toxic orthodoxies.
MacKinnon takes us inside the workings of nation-states, where the oppression of women defines community life and distributes power in society and government. She takes us to Bosnia-Herzogovina for a harrowing look at how the wholesale rape and murder of women and girls there was an act of genocide, not a side effect of war. She takes us into the heart of the international law of conflict to ask — and reveal — why the international community can rally against terrorists' violence, but not against violence against women. A critique of the transnational status quo that also envisions the transforming possibilities of human rights, this bracing book makes us look as never before at an ongoing war too long undeclared.
"MacKinnon focuses on the international legal dimensions of feminist theory. She asks how international law, specifically international human rights protections, might be structured to take account of the uniqueness of crimes against women." Times Literary Supplement
"[MacKinnon] is undeniably one of feminism's most significant figures, a ferociously tough-minded lawyer and academic who has sought to use the law to clamp down on sexual harassment and pornography." The Guardian
About the Author
Catharine A. MacKinnon is Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Women's Status, Men's States
I. THEORY VERSUS REALITY
II. STRUGGLES WITHIN STATES
III. THROUGH THE BOSNIAN LENS
IV. ON THE CUTTING EDGE
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