One of the threads that runs through the various schools of feminist legal theory is the idea that law and legal processes play a role in the construction of Women as a category (and as a subjectivity). For liberal feminists, this involves treating women as a group (and thereby creating ‘women’ as a generalizing legal category), rather than as individuals before the law. For radical feminists, the law – like the state – is regarded as malecentric and patriarchal, and it is implicated in the normalization of inequalities based on sexuality and gender. For postmodern feminists like Smart, law is gendered – legal discourse employs, reproduces, and constructs particular gender categories.
For this week’s food for thought question, I would like to explore some examples of the construction of gendered categories / identities / subjectivities through law.
Food for thought:
Select a particular approach to feminist legal theory. Then, write a post that:
- Opens with a brief overview of the main features and ideas of your chosen theory;
- Introduces a case study (a legal case, process, statute, etc.), and;
- Explains, drawing on your chosen theory, how the case study demonstrates the role of law in the construction of a particular (gendered) understanding of women.
- You may not select R. v. Kahpeaysewat  as a case study
- You must engage with Pavlich (2011) and Comack (2006), and, where appropriate, Smart (1992)
- You must engage with additional sources to describe your case study
Posts prepared in response to this question must be submitted before class on October 28