Tag: Catharine MacKinnon

Kate Millett, 1934-2017

I just heard, via Lori Marso, the news that Kate Millett has died. I remember the very first time I read Sexual Politics. I’m embarrassed to say it was well into my teaching at Brooklyn College. It was for a course on counterrevolution, some time around 2005 or so, and we were doing a lengthy section on the right-wing backlash against the feminist movement. I was looking for a text that would state the strongest revolutionary argument for feminism, not just substantively but rhetorically. I wanted to give students a sense of the ferocity of the attack—intellectual, political, cultural—that feminism posed in its original incarnation. After reading around a bit, it was obvious that there was only one candidate: Sexual Politics. […]

Phyllis Schlafly, 1924-2016

News reports are coming in that Phyllis Schlafly, the longtime conservative anti-feminist who helped defeat the ERA and propel the Republican Party to power, has died. Despite the tremendous damage she did to women, and progressive causes more generally, I had a great deal of respect for Schlafly, not least because she was a woman who managed to navigate—and amass—power in a man’s world, all the while denying that that was what women wanted at all. That denial, coupled with the rampant sexism of her world, cost her dearly. It was none other than Catharine MacKinnon, her most formidable antagonist, who caught the full measure of Schlafly’s greatness, and tragedy, in two 1982 debates with Schlafly over the ERA: Mrs. Schlafly tells us that being […]

Is the Left More Opposed to Free Speech Today than It Used to Be?

In a sharp take on the left, Freddie deBoer asks, “Is the social justice left really abandoning free speech?” Drawing on this report about an incident at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Freddie answers his own question thus: It’s a question I’ve played around with before. Generally, the response [from the left] is something like “of course not, stop slandering us,” or whatever. But more and more often, I find that the answer from lefties I know in academia or online writing are answering “yes.” And that is, frankly, terrifying and a total betrayal of the fundamental principles we associate with human progress. Freddie goes on to offer a rousing defense of free speech. I don’t want to […]