Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Toward a Feminist Theory of the State
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on January 28, 2003
MacKinnon's work on social constructionist radical feminist is the most eloquent, powerful, persuasive articulation of the field to date. "Postmodernism" could learn a lot by looking back to MacKinnon and REALLY understanding what she has to say instead of dismissing her work as 'essentialist.' MacKinnon continues to be a brilliant, important voice in feminism despite its energies being tapped by unfortunate new movements in academic that have distracted young scholars' attention. A Must Read.
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on July 7, 2005
The writing of Catharine MacKinnon is the most thorough and conclusive explanations of male domination in our society that I have had the pleasure of exploring. It refutes many other feminist theories and then gives a solid base for her own explanation of feminism. I highly recomend this writing to anyone interested in feminism or political theory.
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on May 11, 2000
MacKinnon's most noteworthy contribution to jurisprudential thought has been to point out the patriarchal assumptions of the U.S. Constitution, in light of modern feminist theory. In Towards a Feminist Theory..., MacKinnon writes an almost Foucaultian analysis of current constitutional jurisprudence -- the post-modern assessment of individual thought censorship as perpetrated by the male-dominated forum of political discourse is prevalent in many of her works but particularly, in this one.
She is a compelling and dramatic writer and while her arguments run the gamut -- from the distastefully provocative to rigorously logical to total raving rants, it is impossible to dismiss her entirely. I recommend that those interested in her writings read the law review articles she has written on similar issues. It should be taken with the grain of salt, however, that her biases against men in general are profound and even disturbing.
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on July 3, 2011
This woman is absolutely brilliant. Note, for example:

p. 184: "Most women who seek abortions became pregnant while having sexual intercourse with men."

One wonders how many women become pregnant while having intercourse with other women.

On p. 162 she writes: "Formally, the state is male in that objectivity is its norm."

I guess she means that women are not, or cannot or should not be, objective. She goes on to say that the entire structure of laws guaranteeing freedom of speech, equality under the law, etc., the rule of law itself, are artifacts of male domination and should therefore be eliminated.

Her definition of rape covers all acts of sexual intercourse where the woman is not the actual initiator, then she argues, p.149: "...the truly interesting question becomes how and why sexuality in women is ever other than masochistic." On other pages she argues that a woman's sexual desire is nothing more than an artifact of submission to male dominance.

Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

[Nota Bene: contrary to the automatically generated heading, which I have been unable to edit, this review is of the hardcover edition, which may make a difference in the page numbers.]
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on March 18, 2005
To start off. As a response to other reviewers referring to Marx's work, it is neither "simple minded" nor "myopic" any more than modern economic theory espoused by the Austrian and Chicago schools, even though Marx's historical insights may be naive at times. If you read anything past "The Communist Manifesto" (which was a political propaganda pamphlet and should be seen as such) this would become more obvious.
Turning to MacKinnon. She is a perfect example of how Marxism (I'm not talking about Marx here) got a bad name. From reading many of her law review articles I noticed an underlying tone of anger and hatred toward males (note how similar her arguments are to those of racists and mysogynistic men). This combined with her legislative attempts to severely limit 1st amendment rights through a pornography ban in a moral crusade to "save women from themselves" makes one think that perhaps MacKinnon should have been born a 19th century man, where many of her arguments would hold more weight. Although she may claim to be "Marxist" or "Freudian" or whatever convienient label she identifies herself with to prop up her bankrupt theories , she is one of the most conservative and unenlightened thinkers in feminism today. Read forget about MacKinnon and read Simone De Beauvoir
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on April 25, 2000
MacKinnon writes with smoothe, poetic prose, that disguises her petulant and arrogantly low estimation of the average women. The logical flaws only start there. The book is deeply myopic in its interpretation of history, just as Marx's work (MacKinnon's ideal) was. I recommend it only because of the woefully influential effect it is having on the U.S. judicial system - know thine enemy!
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on November 9, 2001
Mackinnon's more theoretical discussions are based on Marxism and Freudianism. She doesn't really bother to offer any sort of "Epistemology of Method" or "Prolegamena," so the many philosophical issues that surround her approach are simply left hanging. This raises serious concerns in light of very critical, devastating attacks on both Marx and Freud over the last 10 years or so. Marx's economic and metaphysical theories, while all the rage among certain quarters in the Humanities, are embarassingly simple-minded and reductivist as anyone can determine who has actually spent a good time reading him. Freud, thanks to Patricia Churchland's excellent book, has finally been shown to be the pseudo-scientist quack most reasonable people always knew him to be. As such, MacKinnon's book is based on two thinkers whose theories have been completely discredited and dismissed. What does this say, then, for her work? If you want a serious, philosophically substantial work on modern political theory, read Habermas, Rawls, Nozick, Onora O'Neill, etc --
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on May 14, 2012
My God...this woman really has problems with half the human race...if you check out her personal history you can understand why...a father who was mental and distant..a far left author boyfriend she lived with in Australia for several years of whom she refuses to discuss after the breakup...most likely he was another man just like daddy she was trying to connect with (though she will never admit it)..this woman is going to her grave without experiencing real life....her anger toward men and the way GOD designed things voids any hope for happiness (as if she could design it better)...the book is just one big rant of rage towards her own life..avoid reading this...I only checked out this book because her last name is my own Scottish clan...now I know why our clan didnt grow as big as the others..lol
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on September 2, 2001
To call this an academic exercise is absurd. It's just political polemic. In a more intellectually honest age she would have no academic position from which to preach. She's a patron saint of intolerance.
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on March 26, 1999
This woman is a goddess, really.
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