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75 Calif. L. Rev. 1559 (1987)
MacKinnon's Feminism: Power on Whose Terms

handle is hein.journals/calr75 and id is 1573 raw text is: REVIEWS
MacKinnon's Feminism: Power on
Whose Terms?
FEMINISM UNMODIFIED: DISCOURSES ON LIFE AND LAW. By Catha-
rine A. MacKinnon.t Cambridge and London: Harvard University
Press 1987. Pp. 315. $25.00.
Reviewed by Katharine T. Bartlett+
Catharine MacKinnon writes about power-about who has it, how
they keep it, and why those who don't have it should want it and get it.
Like Karl Marx, she has a complete explanation for it, a total theory
of power to account for how a systematically unequal social arrange-
ment... is internally coherent and internally rational and pervasive yet
unjust (p. 49). Her theory is this: men have power over everything of
value in society, even the power to decide what has value and what does
not. Men use this power systematically to shape and define the social
beings we call men and women in ways which enhance the power of men
and keep women subordinate to men. How men have constructed the
relationship between men and women in turn shapes and constructs soci-
ety' as a whole such that each of its constitutive parts-its law, its insti-
tutions, the private relationships it fosters-is organized hierarchically,
by sex. Women, in short, have been had and will continue to be had (in
every sense) until we understand our trap, seize the power to control our
own lives, and get men's feet off our necks (p. 45).
Feminism Unmodified is a collection of speeches delivered over a
five-year period from 1981 to 1986 to both legal and nonlegal audiences.
The format is effective, giving us the poetic anger and hard-driving sensi-
tivity to women's plight of MacKinnon's spoken word, in hard copy we
t Visiting Scholar, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University. B.A.
1969, Smith College; M.Phil. 1973, J.D. 1977, Yale University.
T Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law. B.A. 1968, Wheaton College; M.A.
1969, Harvard University; J.D. 1975, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley.
1. MacKinnon notes that
Sexuality to feminism is, like work to marxism, socially constructed and at the same time
constructing.... As the organized expropriation of the work of some for the use of others
defines the class, workers, the organized expropriation of the sexuality of some for the use
of others defines the sex, woman (p. 49).

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