1887

n Journal for Juridical Science - Conceptualising the sexually explicit as free expression : the distinct legal and political challenges presented to a liberal feminist critique in a South African constitutional context

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Abstract

This article explores critically whether the liberal feminist understanding of women's situation under conditions of patriarchy (in its critique of liberal philosophy) has the potential to uncover the complex nature of the (legal) harm inherent to gender-specific sexually explicit material. By virtue of the fact that liberal feminism has emerged from classical liberal theory, this school of feminism appears to struggle in balancing the interests of a free, equal and democratic society with the pressing interests of women to live in a society which is free from both direct and indirect gender-specific violence. Liberal feminism's often uncritical acceptance of classical liberal principles would appear to render it virtually incapable of appreciating (female) sexuality as a social construct. And as a consequence, sexually explicit speech is not per se deemed sexist or harmful to women, because mere images are not understood to have the capacity to cause harm. Accordingly, to justify legal intervention, harm must either be imminent and directed against women specifically, or must constitute the advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to cause harm. Seen in this context, this article seeks to determine whether liberal feminism could conceptualise sexually explicit material as a violent mode of expression within a South African constitutional context.


Hierdie artikel ondersoek krities of die liberale feministiese begrip van vroue se situasie onder die patriargie (as kritiek op die liberale filosofie) oor die potensiaal beskik om die komplekse aard van die (regs)skade wat inherent tot geslagspesifieke seksueel eksplisiete materiaal is, bloot te lê. Weens die feit dat die liberale feminisme uit die klassieke liberale teorie ontstaan het, vind hierdie skool van die feminisme dit skynbaar moeilik om die belange van 'n vrye, gelyke en demokratiese samelewing te balanseer met die dringende belang van vroue om in 'n gemeenskap te leef sonder sowel direkte as indirekte geslagspesifieke geweld. Die liberale feminisme se dikwels onkritiese aanvaarding van klassieke liberale beginsels veroorsaak dat die paradigma skynbaar feitlik nie oor die vermoë beskik om die (vroulike) seksualiteit as 'n sosiale konstruksie te waardeer nie. En gevolglik word seksueel eksplisiete spraak nie per se as seksisties of skadelik teenoor vroue beskou nie, want blote afbeelde beskik nie oor die vermoë om skade te berokken nie. Dus om regsintervensie te regverdig, moet skade òf dreigend en direk op vroue gerig wees òf dit moet die verkondiging van haat wat aanhitsing om leed te veroorsaak, uitmaak. In hierdie konteks beskou, word daarom gepoog om vas te stel of die liberale feminisme seksueel eksplisiete material binne 'n Suid-Afrikaanse konstitusionele konteks as 'n gewelddadige vorm van uitdrukking sou kon konseptualiseer.

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/content/juridic/37/1/EJC129328
2012-06-01
2016-12-05
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