Feminist Theory and Law
Martha Albertson Fineman
Emory University School of Law
Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 18, No. 2, 1994
Emory Public Law Research Paper, Forthcoming
Because of women’s perceived biological differences, women have historically been relegated to the 'private' or family sphere. These exclusionary consequences of differences led many feminist legal scholars and practitioners to argue for equality in terms of sameness of treatment that assumed no legally relevant differences between men and women. However, sameness of treatment in a conservative institution such as the law has made it increasingly difficult for women to grasp equality. Recognition of difference is necessary to remedy socially and culturally imposed harms to women.
This paper develops the concept of a 'gendered life' to give content and legitimacy to legal concern for differences which were once used to exclude women. As a group, women share the potential for experiencing a variety of situations, statuses, and ideological and political impositions in which their gender is culturally relevant. With gender revealed as a central social and cultural consideration, women’s attention in many areas can productively be directed toward confronting and challenging the gendered implications of our lives.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: gendered life, feminism, feminist legal theory, equality, difference, neutrality, gender, post-egalitarianismAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 21, 2012
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