Feminism In Criminal Law

2074 Words 8 Pages
It is plausible that adopting feminist approaches to criminal law consequently lead to increased criminalisation. There are several distinct branches of feminism; many feminists campaign for legal reform, leading to changes in the law . Feminist jurisprudence argues that the justice system is a manifestation of patriarchy, which may be evident in the lack of female judges. Feminist research also includes criminal violence against women, particularly by men and of a sexual nature . The application of gender stereotypes is an obstruction in pivotal elements of law, such as mens rea, actus reus, liability defences and contentious judicial decisions. Feminism is also in discord with similar bodies of legal theory, such as liberalism .

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Liberal feminists maintain that equality for women is accomplished through legal reform, thus men do not need to be tackled first hand. This liberal perspective accepts that men dominate the criminal law, but campaigns for inclusion of women. Before an amendment introduced by Lord Ponsonby in 1994 , male rape where a man is a victim was not recognised as an offence in the UK. Additionally, a female cannot be legally charged with rape.

Radical feminist research identifies the sexuality of women as the leading cause of “women’s subordination” . Feminists believe that women are oppressed and men exploit them for sex. Thus, feminist theory extends to prostitution, generally feminists believe in criminalising the consumers of prostitution. Feminists conclude that legal reform should criminalise prostitution for the safety of women. Consequently, asserting that the issues surrounding prostitution, such as the transmission of STI’s and HIV, depression and abuse as a direct consequence of male domination
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Political party ‘Justice for Men and Boys’ (J4MB) lobby for the criminalisation of abortion after ten weeks and prosecuting women who drink whilst pregnant. Most feminist argument maintains freedom and choice for women over their bodies, defining abortion as a woman’s right . Recent campaigning for the rights of men and criminalising women has forecasted as a new wave of ‘meninism’ , which could equally enforce an increased use of criminal law as feminism. However, MacKinnon argues that abortion facilitates male control over sexuality, empowering men as opposed to women

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