Project: Non-funded Project › Projects
1/10/10 → 1/11/11
A sole authored monograph examining some of the ways in which legal discourse creates gendered identitites. The proposal is currently under consideration by Routledge. It has been peer reviewed. Routledge have requested re-submission after incorporating review comments.
Full outline Content
The book will comprise a total of eight chapters. Each chapter will be between 8,000-10,000 words.
Chapter 1: What is Gender? - Introduction: Methodological Imperatives and Theoretical Influences. This chapter will introduce how gender and sexuality are generally constructed, shaped and defined within legal discourse. It will then proceed to focus upon the production in law of legal subjectivity and the interplay of social and legal interpretations of subjectivity based upon the divisions of gender, the pivotal concepts of masculinity, femininity and the importance of sex and sexuality. It will conclude by reflecting the significance of law in shaping wider cultural practices, institutions and how at the same time law also sometimes uncritically reflects these practices.
Chapter 2Feminist Jurisprudence - Constructing Legal Masculinities and Femininities. This chapter will introduce the idea that gender is a legal and a social construct, rather than a purely biological construct. As Simone de Beauvoir is quoted as famously saying "One is not born a woman. One becomes one." (The Second Sex). Some of the work done by influential theorists such as Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, Catherine MacKinnon; Carole Smart, Drucilla Cornell; Ngaire Naffine will be examined. This chapter will introduce the three major schools of thought within feminist jurisprudence (Traditional, or liberal, feminism; cultural feminists and radical feminist jurisprudence).
Chapter 3 War Crimes. This chapter will examine how the militarised construction of masculinity comes into being and how this is privileged by legal processes by the international legal community in continuing the sexual violence experienced by (mostly) women and carried out by (mostly) men in conflict situations. Although notable progress has been made in formulating laws against sexual violence (e.g. systematic rape is now a crime against humanity, second only to genocide), it is frustrating and depressing that systematic sexual violence continues to be largely ignored. This chapter asks if rape in a conflict situation continues to be seen as the 'spoils of war', what questions are raised about the construction of masculinity and femininity? Further, it argues that gender based violence is not adequately recognised as an important and legitimate concern and questions whether or not all types of gender based violence should be criminalized.
Chapter 4 Rape and Sexual Violence. The law of rape necessitates a questioning of how the criminal law addresses intersubjective violence. In recent years, criminal law has seen a number of limited reforms in the criminal law's relation to the private realm. Some of these reforms have been in the law of rape (e.g. the lifting of the marital rape exemption; the broadening out of the statutory definition of rape and case law reforms on the defendant's belief in consent). This chapter will thus not only be concerned to describe the structure of rape law, but also with delineating those areas of the legal structure in which reform is both possible and impossible. In substantive terms, the issues posed are (i) the relationship between the formal law of rape and the substantive law of evidence; (ii) the role of consent in the criminal law (iii) the actions of the accused that are addressed in and by the criminal law. By the end of this chapter, it will be clear that the criminal law does recognises gendered differences, but continues to privilege certain performances of masculinity and femininity.
Chapter 5 Genital Mutilation. This chapter is devoted to the study of issues concerned with body modification and genital mutilation. It will examine gender aspects of the phenomenon of genital mutilation and, more specifically, those concerned with male and female mutilation (sometimes term 'circumcision'). It will also assess the cultural, social and populist influences that underpin such practices. This will include analysis of the rise in so called 'designer laser vaginoplasty' and 'laser vaginal rejuvenation' (growth areas in plastic surgery) and questions whether the rise in these practices are becoming 'normalised' as a 'proper' performance of gendered identity, or are, more accurately, little more than genital mutilation.
Chapter 6 'Food Security'. Food Security is a gender issue. The role of women and gender in food security is something that is often overlooked at virtually every level. Across all cultures, it is primarily women who ensure that each family member receives an adequate share of food and it is primarily women who make the decisions regarding what where and when, food is purchased. Globally speaking, Women are responsible for half of the world's food production, and in most developing countries they produce between 60 and 80% of the food. In poor households women and girls are more likely to suffer from malnutrition. The feminization of poverty means that increasing numbers of women are suffering from malnutrition. This is especially true of pregnant and lactating women. The problems faced by women in relation to food security are manifold. Land ownership is a common problem as in many countries; the land is predominantly owned by men and transferred inter-generationally to males. Education is another significant contributory factor. Women do not receive the same access to educational and training opportunities as men do. Education has proven to be an important tool to increase agricultural productivity and reduce poverty and malnutrition.
In Africa, for example, research suggests that as much as 70% of the labour in agriculture is contributed by women. The constraints they face include access to credit (women in Africa access only one percent of available credit in the agricultural sector); overt legal inequity with men; decreased ability to own and farm land and to sell legal redress viz land rights within court systems and the fact that women can lose their land when men leave or are killed in conflicts.
This chapter concludes by arguing that in any discussion over food security, there needs to be greater inclusion of women and gender considerations in the design of agricultural and nutrition programs. Law and law makers need to tackle head on the continuing inequality of Land ownership; divorce; access to safe contraception and inheritance laws. When all women can control how many children they have, food management becomes more manageable.
Chapter 7 Pornography. Gay and lesbian pornography are treated differently in law than heterosexual pornography. This difference in treatment can help to explain and expose how the concepts of femininity and masculinity underpin the legal construction of gender. Presently, pornography is regulated in the UK by that which is considered (legally) 'obscene'. Gay male pornography is particularly susceptible to being banned as obscene on the basis that it portrays men being penetrated by other men - it is, therefore, prima facie, legally obscene. Heterosexual pornography which portrays women being penetrated by men is classified as 'normal' or 'natural' and therefore not obscene. It is in these and other ways in which pornography impacts upon both Law and an individual's idea of what it means to be 'woman/feminine' or 'man/masculine'. This chapter will ask how law should regulate (if at all) pornography (is it free speech or hate speech?) and what role, (if any), law should play in the regulation of lesbian and gay pornography. 'What', 'Why', 'How', and 'Who' would be the subject/object of such regulation?
Chapter 8 SexTrafficking. Sex trafficking is a good example of gender violence. Law and legal policy continues to largely ignore the trafficking of (mostly) women into the UK. The continued sexual exploitation of women from overseas is being treated routinely as an immigration issue, with the women often regarded as criminals rather than as victims of coercion, violence and trafficking. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is meant to deal with trafficking into, trafficking within, and trafficking out of the UK for sexual exploitation. However, to date, there have been only 67 convictions so far for trafficking under this legislation. Women are involved in 77% of trafficking cases worldwide, and are 'bought' for between £2,000 and £8,000. Some have been forced to work 16 hours and have sex with 30 men a day. A Home Office study in 2000 concluded that the scale of trafficking of women (some of whom include young girls) may range anywhere from a hundred to some thousands annually.