The women are oppressed through their sexuality. She argues

central feature of MacKinnon’s theory is that all women are oppressed through
their sexuality. She argues that the State is predominantly male.1
Hence, the State mirrors the male perspective despite law’s alleged neutrality.
She drew an analogy between the State and men, where the State are the highest
manifestation of power relations in society, while men have power both
physically and socially. As a reflection of male power, the law enforces rights
which legitimise the male’s perception of the world.

MacKinnon analysed rape law where she
asserted that law continuously adopts a male point of view regarding sexual
experience, therefore unable to accommodate women’s experience of rape. 2 The
language of sex in society reveals that our understanding of the relation of
men to women is that men is an active subject, and women is passive – he ‘does
it’ to her.3 In law,
where a man has no intention to rape, there is no violation – they simply had sex. There is a tendency to view
rape as only a paradigm of violent attack by a stranger, in dark alleys
accompanied by bruises and torn clothes. When in reality, rape can occur in the
form of coercion by husbands, fathers, ‘date rape’, or through the use of
economic or other types of power to get sex.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

The law is viewed from a male’s
perspective and this perspective becomes an objective reality.4 This leads to men objectifying women into
tools for their own sexual pleasure, ignoring that women are humans in their
own right. For instance, women in pornography are portrayed as collections of
body parts for men to fantasise about. According to MacKinnon, the eroticisation
of violence and submission in pornography encourages the ideology in which
women are understood to find male force sexually attractive, and in which
consent is not important.5

Radical feminism differs greatly from formalism.
MacKinnon maintains that behind the apparent neutrality of the law, it is male
and is most tyrannical towards women when it claims to be sex blind. It is
impossible to separate the law from politics. She also argues that even though
the law were to achieve neutrality and objectivity, it might not be beneficial
as this would not reflect reality. Hence, she argues for legal reform to stop
enslaving women to men’s needs.6 However,
MacKinnon’s theory has loopholes as she assumes that all women have similar
needs and experiences. The truth is, women face discrimination differently
depending on their race, religion, and sexuality, which cannot be unified into
a single feminist theory. She has simply combined issues of race, class, and
sexuality into the category of gender oppression. 

1 C C Smart ‘The Woman of
Legal Discourse’ (1992) 1 SAGE 29, 32

C A MacKinnon, ‘Feminism, Marxism, Method
and the State: Towards Feminist Jurisprudence’ (1983) 8 (2) Signs 635

3 C A MacKinnon,
‘Sexuality, Pornography, and Method: “Pleasure under Patriarchy’ (1989)
99(2) The University of Chicago Press 314, 319

4 P A Cain (n 35) 833

5 C A MacKinnon (n 52)

6 P A Cain (n 35) 834