MacKinnon argues that the inequality between women and men in most societies form a hierarchy that institutionalizes male dominance, subordinating women, in an arrangement rationalized and often perceived as natural. She writes about the interrelations between theory and practice, recognizing that women's experiences have, for the most part, been ignored in both arenas. Furthermore, she uses Marxism to critique certain points in liberal feminism in feminist theory and uses radical feminism to criticize Marxist theory. MacKinnon notes Marx's criticism of theory that treated class division as a spontaneous event that occurred naturally. She understands epistemology as theories of knowing, and politics as theories of power: "Having power means, among other things, that when someone says, 'this is how it is', it is taken as being that way. ... Powerlessness means that when you say 'this is how it is,' it is not taken as being that way. This makes articulating silence, perceiving the presence of absence, believing those who have been socially stripped of credibility, critically contextualizing what passes for simple fact, necessary to the epistemology of a politics of the powerless."
In 1996 Fred R. Shapiro calculated that "Feminism, Marxism, Method, and the State: Toward Feminist Jurisprudence", 8 Signs 635 (1983), was the 96th most cited article in law reviews even though it was published in a non-legal journal.