How can laws control equality, if the institutions prescribing the laws are not equal?

Updated: Jun 22

Talking Politics is a podcast that forms many a talking point for us. However, the episodes of the podcast that I find most interesting are the less 'political' ones, when the discussion is about a structure, an idea, a theory or a broader comment on society rather than about party politics. The mini-series 'Talking Politics - History of Ideas' delivers 12 episodes of exactly that. The concepts can be abstract and so brimming with context and theory that I don't always follow, but I will listen to them all a second time as I found each one of the 'History of Ideas' compelling. Particularly enthralling for me was the one featuring Catherine MacKinnon on patriarchy. She has a law background and calls on it to form arguments regarding the disadvantages that women face and how the patriarchy is ingrained in the institutions that we trust to level the playing field. I found it refreshing that she argues a singular viewpoint and does not succumb to the complications of the grey areas, such as the feminists who say her theories about equality victimise women in a distinctly anti-feminist way. An example is pornography: largely produced by men, controlled by men, consumed by men, perpetuating the objectification and suppression of women both as an industry and a product. MacKinnon argues how can there be enough laws implemented around pornography and its production to guarantee the safety of participants if the institutions prescribing the laws are not equal?


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