Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law

Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law Analysis

MacKinnon is a controversial person. Her feminism is unbridled and if not vengeful, then at least formidable. She's in it to win. Take for instance her commentary of pornography, a commonly criticized position. She is not advocating for the correct treatment of sex workers or the restoration of the depiction of women. She skips right over those to pursue government control of the market for sexually explicit material. This is not just an important feature of her feminist theory, but it also indicates the attitude she takes in her writings.

She is not trying to make friends. Instead, she uses incisive, aggressive rhetorical devices to help break down the paradigmatic resistance to reform. Perhaps also, her ideas might be seen as Marxist in light of her understanding of women as a historically oppressed class, in which case her goal would not be to merely identify the problem and offer a suggestion on paths forward. No, in this case her goal would be a revolution, a systematic overhaul of the assumptions around feminist issues. In her mind, there needs to be radical change in order to achieve the fair treatment of women in the modern world.

These features are also her most commonly criticized, and often her progressivism is attacked for its blatant appeal to the government for control and censorship, especially of pornography. She presents her ideas not as censorship, but as a correct response to the terrible mistreatment of the women in those images and videos, a historically well-known phenomenon.

Feminism is tricky, but ultimately, to actually do justice to MacKinnon's arguments, one needs to seriously consider her original claim that women are historically oppressed. One major problem with MacKinnon's branch of feminism in the modern world is that her appetite for aggressive political reform is statistically opposed by women, which is an interesting problem as well.

Nevertheless, MacKinnon's willingness to be the scapegoat for the cause of feminism is a notable sacrifice, and although she is highly debated, many agree with the basic premise of her cause, the political, legal and social equality of men and women.

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