Edited by Robin West and Cynthia G. Bowman
Chapter 16: A dignitarian feminist jurisprudence with applications to rape, sexual harassment and honor codes
This chapter advances two claims: that feminist theory and jurisprudence should adopt the universal dignity-and-respect discourse, rooted in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, and that they should look out for remnants of honor mentality in social conventions and legal norms. These two claims are intertwined in the chapter’s presentation of a dignitarian feminist jurisprudence that is critically sensitive to traces of honor and addresses them as offenses to women’s dignity and respect. Dignitarian legal feminism exposes how prevailing social conventions, especially regarding sexual conduct, reflect remnants of honor mentality that infringe on women’s dignity, respect and fundamental human rights. It proposes adoption of legislation that would acknowledge such social norms and replace them with clear affirmation and celebration of women’s full subjecthood, dignity and respect. Israel’s sexual harassment law, from 1998, based in dignitarian feminist jurisprudence, is presented as a case in point.
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