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Feminist Philosophy

What is Catherine MacKinnon’s contribution to second wave feminist political philosophy?

In the 1970s Catherine MacKinnon (1946–) began to argue that sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination, outlawed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin also developed legal theory to outlaw pornography. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against sexual harassment in 1986, largely based on MacKinnon’s work; and the Supreme Court of Canada has partly accepted her arguments against pornography.

MacKinnon’s books include: In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (edited and introduced with Andrea Dworkin; 1997), Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989), Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women’s Equality (with Andrea Dworkin; 1988), Organizing Against Pornography (1988), Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (1987), and Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A Case of Sex Discrimination (with Thomas I. Emerson; 1979).



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