Sexuality Police or Freedom Fighter?
In her book Feminism Unmodified, Catharine MacKinnon presents a solid view of her conception of feminism as well as quite a few examples of practices which serve to hinder our society from becoming more feminist; that is, women living not only equally as entitled as men, but on their own terms. The main practices and phenomena she outlines include sexual harassment, pornography and how each perpetuates the power play of domination and subordination within society.
MacKinnon isn't your typical feminist vying for equal rights for women. She goes a few steps further in her quest for a society where domination isn't an issue and women can live on their own terms. In other words, she believes a young woman should be able to walk down the street at night without fear of being raped or assaulted because of her gender. Moreover, women should cease to be seen as supplementary sex objects which need to be dominated and instead be viewed as competent, equivalent members of society with all the same privileges as men. Tied in with these rights is pornography, about which she says “To have a future, women's rights will have to mean an end to pornography- not its containment or suppression or regulation, but an end to the demand for eroticizing women's degradation. I mean a world in which men are no longer turned on by putting women down” (27). MacKinnon undoubtedly makes some valid points as to why this is so, yet it's probably safe to say that pornography won't see its end anytime in the near future, and that systemic social overhaul will need more than just a nudge to take fruition.
I agree with MacKinnon in her argument that gender is more of a hierarchy than a mere difference. The term 'difference' denotes an equivalence while 'hierarchy' indicates value and legitimacy as well as power. MacKinnon calls gender an 'inequality of power, a social status based on who is permitted to do what to whom' (8). This...