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Feminist Jurisprudence Proves that a Woman's Place is in the Home

Peter Zohrab 2004-2014

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I start from the assumption that The Emergence of Feminist Jurisprudence: An Essay by Ann C. Scales* (Patricia Smith (ed.), Feminist Jurisprudence, OUP, New York, 1993, 94-109) is representative of the intellectual level of Feminist Jurisprudence. I have not read any other works of Feminist Jurisprudence (as at mid-2004), but I think my assumption is a reasonable one, given the title of the book in which it appears (i.e. "Feminist Jurisprudence"), and given its similarity to the many other Feminist writings that I have read. Ann Scales is also described on the Sturm College of Law webpage http://law.du.edu/index.php/profile/ann-scales as "among the founders of the field of feminist legal theory."

It is my experience that what gets published and what gets taught by the education system is decided on the basis of political and economic factors. Since Feminists claim to represent a disadvantaged group (women), and this claim is one of the dominant ideologies of modern Western states, powerful political and economic factors ensure the publication of Feminist writings.

Feminist writing can quite easily get published, but what is the quality of these published writings?  Feminist Jurisprudence would not attract my attention if I thought that it was generally ignored. In fact, however, it seems clear that a lot of people take it very seriously.  So, if I find that the above-mentioned essay demonstrates intellectual incompetence, that is a matter which I must take seriously.


The Issue

The above essay by Ann Scales relies crucially on a self-contradiction. The issue can be stated quite briefly: On page 99, Scales concludes as follows:

If I am right that the “rights-based” and “care-based” approaches are incompatible, we must make a choice between adjudicative principles.

It will surprise no one that the choice she advocates is the Feminist approach, which she calls the “care-based” approach.

Scales characterises the difference between the “rights-based” and “care-based” approaches as follows (page 98):

Whereas the male self/other ontology seems to be oppositional, the female version seems to be relational. The female ontology is an alternative theory of differentiation that does not define by negation or require a “life and death struggle” to identify value in the world.... It perceives dichotomization as irrational.



Having stated on page 98 that a Feminist, care-based approach avoids dichotomization, why does she create a dichotomy between the “rights-based” and “care-based” approaches on page 99 (the very next page!)? Having stated on page 98 that the care-based approach does not define by negation or require a “life and death struggle” to identify value in the world, why does she state on page 99 that we must make a choice between adjudicative principles, which defines one principle by negating the other?

It is clear that Scales, in choosing between the “rights-based” and “care-based” approaches, is in fact adopting the so-called “male”, “oppositional” approach. She has identified value in the Jurisprudence part of the world by using supposedly “irrational” dichotomization to promote the victory of female ontology over male ontology – negating it in a “life and death struggle”.

Feminists like Scales obviously belong in the intellectually less challenging environment of the home !  With people like her being treated like real academics, men who actually have brains cannot get anywhere in academia without selling out to hypocrisy!


* First published as: Ann C. Scales, The Emergence of Feminist Jurisprudence: An Essay, 95 Yale L.J. (1986).
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol95/iss7/6


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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

14 May 2021