Catharine MacKinnon's Book Feminism Unmodified Essay

1303 Words 6 Pages
Catharine MacKinnon's Book Feminism Unmodified

Catharine MacKinnon, in her book Feminism Unmodified, takes a unique approach to the problem of gender inequality in America. She claims that pornography defines the way in which America’s patriarchal society perpetuates male dominance, and attacks traditional liberal methods that defend pornography on the basis of the first amendment’s right to free speech. According to MacKinnon, pornography is not an example of speech but rather an act. She proposes that this act discriminates against women as a class, and therefore violates their civil rights and should be outlawed. MacKinnon’s critics may think her argument is excessively radical, and contemporary society may not embrace the
…show more content…
Both practices work within the system, but neither practice has made substantial progress because they do not change private practice.

MacKinnon opposes both approaches because they abide by male dominance. MacKinnon feels “There is a politics to (this dominant approach). Concealed is the substantive way in which man has become the measure for all things” (34). “Under the sameness (approach) women are measured according to their correspondence with man,” while “under the difference approach women are judged according to their distance to man.” She feels that male power perpetuates male dominance, because “women and men are equally different, but not equally powerful” (51).

MacKinnon argues that pornography defines male treatment of women, and is the clearest demonstration of male dominance. Her perspective is radical, but valuable because it forces one to reexamine his or her view of pornography. She says that, “male power makes authoritative a way of seeing and treating women that when a man looks at a pornographic picture... the viewing is an act of male supremacy” (130). This form of expression dictates the way in which men view women as a class. The uneven distribution of power in this system makes pornography a form of discrimination. “Pornography causes attitudes and behaviors of violence and discrimination that define the treatment and status of half the population” (147). Not only women are subject to this form of oppression. “Pornography is the
Open Document