Masculinities Theory as Impetus for Change in Feminism and Law
THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF FEMINISM AND LAW IN THE UNITED STATES (Deborah L. Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna L. Williams, eds.).
25 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 19, 2021
Feminist legal scholars have found much in the field of masculinities to
enrich the feminist analysis of law. In drawing on and incorporating masculinities theories
into legal feminism, feminist scholars have added their own insight into the meaning
of “masculinities.” As Nancy Dowd, Nancy Levit, and Ann McGinley explain:
“Masculinities” has multiple meanings. First, it is a structure that gives men as a group power over women as a group. Second it is a set of practices, designed to maintain group power, that are considered “masculine.” Third, it is the engagement in or “doing” of these masculine practices by men or women. Finally, the term refers to a body of theory and scholarship by gender experts in various fields of social science.
Although masculinities originated in fields outside of law, legal scholars have adopted insights raised by masculinities scholars, combined with those of feminist theory, queer theory, and critical race theory, to develop a legal theory of masculinities that proposes new legal interpretations and policies that better correspond to the lived experiences of persons of different genders, races, and classes. This chapter explores how masculinities research has influenced legal feminism in the U.S.
Keywords: feminism, law, feminist legal theory, masculinities theory, gender
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