Imagining New Legalities: Privacy and Its Possibilities in the 21st Century

By Austin Sarat; Lawrence Douglas et al. | Go to book overview

Disenchanting the Public/Private Distinction

KATHRYN ABRAMS

For women the measure of the intimacy has been the measure of the
oppression. This is why feminism has had to explode the private.

Catharine MacKinnon1

The legal couching … of Bowers v. Hardwick as an issue … a Con-
stitutional right to privacy, and the liberal focus in the aftermath of
that decision on the image of the bedroom invaded by policemen … as
though political empowerment were a matter of getting the cops back
on the street where they belong and sexuality back into the impermeable
space where it belongs are among other things extensions of, and
testimony to the power of, the image of the closet.

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick2

We affirm that the natural family is the ideal, optimal, true family system.
… We affirm the marital union to be the authentic sexual bond, the only
one open to the natural and responsible creation of new life…. We believe
wholeheartedly in women’s rights. Above all, we believe in rights that
recognize women’s unique gifts of pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding.
The goal of androgyny, the effort to eliminate real difference between
women and men, does every bit as much violence to human nature and
human rights as the old efforts by the communists to create “Soviet Man”
and by the Nazis to create “Aryan Man.”

The Natural Family: A Manifesto3

The “natural family”4 has enjoyed an unlikely resurgence in the early years of the twenty-first century. In contexts from abortion to same-sex marriage, proponents of the nuclear, marital, gender-bifurcated family have asserted the ontological and moral priority of a family configuration that has not been the sociological norm for decades, if indeed it ever was. These advocates, moreover, have taken the offensive, claiming to be embattled by forces or developments that may not appear, to many observers, to target them at all.5 The protesters who gather on street corners waving signs reading “SAVE OUR FAMILY” see

-25-

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