The Gendered Racial Formation: Foreign Men, 'Our' Women, and the Law
Women's Rights Law Reporter, Vol. 30, No. 3/4, p. 479, 2009
83 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2009 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010
Date Written: October 8, 2009
This article analyses the paradox relating to the tension between cultural perceptions and legal norms. Throughout history, countless nations have instituted limitations on marriage and prohibitions on intermarriage. While many of these prohibitions were, for the most part, gender neutral, meaning that both men and women members of the community were barred from marriage outside the community, cultural norms have treated women marrying foreign men less forgivingly than the opposite case. Using historical sources and ancient texts on intermarriage and sexuality, the article argues that the discrepancy between law and culture is to be found in the early Judeo-Christian tradition, which attributed the foreign male with unquenchable sexual prowess while not perceiving the foreign female in the same vein. As the article argues, this was due to a patriarchal worldview which promoted close scrutiny of and control over women's sexuality. Patriarchy, then, led to the development of a cultural taboo on local women marrying foreign men while ignoring the case of men marrying foreign women, despite the gender neutrality of the initial ban.
Keywords: race, gender, judaism, law, society, sexuality, anti-semitism, immigration, marriage, intermarriage, family law, constitutional law, religion, comparative law, international, human rights, civil rights, civil marriage, divorce, Jewish law
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