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Is Law Patriarchal?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Feminism
  3. Traditional patriarchy
  4. Conclusion

When one discusses the idea of patriarchy, it is important to establish what this actually means. In most people's minds, it is the idea of male dominance, and consequently the subordination of women. If this is the true definition, then we can find lots of examples in law of this ? Men had all property rights over children in the 18th/19th Centuries, women only became voters after World War Two and even more recently, rape in marriage was not accepted until 1992 with the case of R. However, in more modern times it becomes clear that society is shifting away from this dominance over women, and now perhaps patriarchy in law can be defined as dominance over minority groups of men, for example homosexuals. To answer the question ?is law patriarchal?, one needs to establish whether this shift has occurred in law, and that the previous gender roles have in fact been reversed.

[...] Positive discrimination is a clear example of law and society actively detaching themselves from patriarchal ideas. For example women are employed just because they are women and there are promotions just because they are women, regardless of whether a man is a better candidate which is exactly what these feminists campaigned against, when they were being discriminated against in this way. Furthermore, custodial sentences are rare for women. Even though there has been an over all increase in the number of women in prison, more women offenders still receive probation, absolute and conditional discharges.[2] In this sense, although some of the law is still male dominated, for example women are still given harsher sentences for certain criminal offences like murder good example is Myra Hindley), because it is a ?moral outrage? that a woman could commit a crime so terrible, there has been and still is continuing to be a rapid shift from male dominance, through equality to female dominance. [...]


[...] If the law is seen by many to be the very root of society, it is alarming that the law is still so far behind it. It is said that we live in a rule of law[11] society and this, if true, is very important. It means that firstly there is a rule of law and not anything else, like morality. Isn't the discrimination of homosexuals a moral issue? Secondly, everyone is to be treated equally under the law this is clearly not happening in cases like Brown and Wilson. [...]


[...] When one looks at the judgement in the case of Brown, there were very good reasons which could have been used to convict the appellants the videotaping of the acts and the use of underage boys in their practices. However, in the judgement they are referred to very briefly and much more time is spent discussing how it wasn't in the public interest and that the public needed to be protected against danger of the proselytisation and corruption of young Now when one looks at Wilson, it should of course follow the decision in Brown due to the doctrine of binding precedent, and it did in the first trial. However on appeal this was not the case. [...]


[...] Furthermore Wilson was in the marital home and Emmett were only in a relationship in my opinion it is obvious that the law still labels these sort of institutions with credibility, institutions which homosexuals can never be part of. Another area of law that discriminates against homosexuals can be found in statute Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988[8], which prohibits the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities. Firstly, it will not allow a person to intentionally promote homosexuality, or publish anything, which does so, and secondly (which is perhaps a more worrying point), schools are prohibited from teaching children the acceptability of homosexuality as a ?pretended family relationship?. [...]


[...] Does the law attribute some sort of masculinity factor it is more natural for men to kill, but not for them to be victims? The above point is the core idea of ?traditional patriarchy?, and now these moral views are creating inequalities, which are being represented against men. If one takes a traditional view that men are not perceived to act as victims of women, for example in rape or to be homosexual, then it becomes clear that certain groups of minority men are being persecuted in law by a traditional patriarchal outlook. [...]

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