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Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned and enjoyed the course content of this class. On the one hand, I was expecting this course to be heavy in legal terms, but was pleasantly surprised that it was kept to something of a minimum; it made understanding the course-work much easier.

The content and readings, even when they were heavy in legal terms, were quite interesting; I felt that my horizons were broadened by looking at how women are treated differently, and how varied feminism is.

I have no complaints about the class; if I had to choose a area that would be covered more, it would be English common law in regards to laws affecting woman. Of course, I'm something of a history nut, so that might affect my decisions.

Thank you, Professor.

Week 15: Class Feedback

To begin with, I found the book, Feminist Legal Theory, very helpful when looking at court cases and articles later on in the semester. It established a great dialogue around the different schools of thought in legal theory. The class discussions and weeks put into understanding this theory were also very helpful.

I found the discussion around marital rape and sexual harassment the most fascinating. I loved having a class where we could discuss not just the actual cases and what happened, but why certain decisions were made and how courts came to the conclusions they did. It is uncommon to have a class where you spend an hour and a half discussing marital rape law in the United States, but it was a pleasure to do so. I wish we could have spent more time with sexual harassment cases and discussing the details that go into the certain laws around sexual harassment protection in the work place. This confused me and I think with more time this would have made sense a bit more.

The progression of marital rights in American history was very helpful in understanding not really my current legal rights, but putting into context the current legal rights of loved ones around me. I know several people who are going through divorces and learning about the slow progression of women gaining economic and legal independence from their husbands has helped me understand the importance of marital rights and the potential damages it has on an individual.

Thank you very much for a great semester, Rebecca. It was truly a great one.

blog 15

First of all, I'm REALLY glad that we started the semester out with the different feminist theoretical approaches. They pulled all of our coursework together, and cleared up so many questions that I've had in general.
Surprisingly, I enjoyed our discussions and readings on postmodernism a whole lot. That and dominance theory were my favorite to explore. I would have enjoyed a little bit more work on lesbian legal theory and on pragmatism, but I think the bases we covered on each of them were certainly good enough for a basic understanding.

I was most confused and shocked by our section on coverture, marriage, and divorce. In a good, way, though, because it is something I've never studied before and likely wouldn't have studied. Now, however, I am sure I'll work with it and read about it more.

My favorite readings of the semester were those by Catharine MacKinnon, Lucy Stone, and Dorothy Roberts. It's good that we didn't spend too much time on any one author or area, though I think our textbook was the best possible background we could have found for any given topic we discussed. While I definitely found court cases to be dry and/or confusing at first, by looking at them repeatedly, I've gotten waaaaay more use out of them than I ever thought I would!

Legal theory has been so out of my comfort zone, but this course not only made me appreciate it, but really feel like I am capable of working with it... and more importantly, I enjoy it now :)

Week 15

When I was informed last semester that this course was being offered I had an immediate interest in taking it. I knew that it would be a class that I would learn valuable things in and honestly, as soon as I got the textbook, I started looking through the pages and becoming even more sure that this was going to be great class.
I honestly had not paid too much attention to the ways the laws have affected women throughout history. I have always known there was a huge gap in equality in many areas between women and men. We have achieved many positive landmarks such as the right to vote, own property and be regarded as an individual instead of property in marriage.
I have found myself using what I have learned in class within my own life as I have talked with female friends and family members about topics in this class. I have a cousin who has been dealing with a guy who makes sexual comments towards her at her job on a daily basis. She is married and does not enjoy or want his comments to continue but doesn't want to "cause trouble" by reporting him to her HR Dept. I find myself being able to be empathetic towards her fears, yet wanting to also push her to stand up for herself too. I have just continued to remind her that she is being sexually harassed and that he is breaking the law. I also have informed her of her rights to be protected if she does decide to turn him in. I really hope she does someday.
This course has struck some personal areas for myself as well. I have been dealing with my own pending divorce throughout the semester and have received an invaluable introduction into the laws of marriage within both the history and the learning of the laws themselves. During some of my lowest points this semester dealing with the stress of my divorce I have been able to find strength with what I have learned in this class.
With what I have learned, and also how I learned to research law, I am making sure that all bases are completely covered for my children's benefit and my own as their mother and provider. I have been shown an area that I may well want to pursue as a career too. I would like to be able to help others in my position of what rights they do have regardless of how little income they might make compared to their spouse or ex-spouse to be.
Although standing up for ourselves and for others who need support can be hard to do. Living in a way that is inhumane is something no one should have to endure.

Have a great summer everyone and best wishes in all that you are pursuing!

Blog 15

I am immensely glad I chose to take this class. I learned a great deal about the law and its treatment of women. The unit I found most surprising was the coverage of marital law. I had known prior to taking this course that marriage was a tradition heavily burdened with patriarchal symbols (the father giving the bride away, taking the husband's last name, etc.), but I did not realize how greatly marriage was linked to state control and how marital law continues to rely upon and reference sexist legal concepts. That "during coverture" is still referenced in property law concerning marriage, and the degree to which coverture is still part of the popular conception of marriage, is a trend I find extremely disturbing.

I think the syllabus did a good job of covering a broad range of legal issues. While there are some side topics I'm interested in which we didn't really discuss in class, these tended to be chosen as presentation topics. Examples of such issues include incarceration of pregnant women, courtroom language (I was recently horrified to read an article about how a number of courtrooms have banned the word "rape" from sexual assault trials, forcing victims to refer to what happened to them as simply "intercourse" or "sex" for fear that rape is a loaded and biased term), and child pornography laws and the "sexting phenomenon. These are much more specific than most of the topics we covered in class though, and I think the more general approach helped greatly to illuminate the relevant issues to such cases.

In terms of my own legal rights, I learned the most in this last unit regarding sexual harassment/discrimination in the workplace, and would have been interested in greater coverage since I think this continues to be a commonly faced issue. For example, I found myself thinking a lot about the requirement that a woman make it clear that any sexual advances are unwelcome directly for the treatment to count as harassment, because this is something I have learned to do over time. When I was 16 and had my second job as a restaurant waitress, I recall being deeply uncomfortable about sexual comments which some of my coworkers made to me. The comments were all made by significantly older coworkers in front of a manager, who said nothing. At that time I wasn't able to directly turn to those men and say "I am uncomfortable with those comments and do not think they are appropriate for the workplace. Please stop." authoritatively - because I was a 16 year old girl, still unsure of herself as a sexual being anyway, and deeply socialized to be pleasant at all times. This last summer as a camp counselor I also dealt with unwanted advances from an older, more senior male coworker who sent me love letters and refused to stop, this time when I made it abundantly clear and directly asked him to cease more than once. I hadn't received any orientation, and although I spoke with supervisors I didn't receive any sort of information on a grievance procedure and none of my supervisors took it upon themselves to address my coworker about this issue. I would not return to work at this camp another summer because of my discomfort with this colleague was so great, and I think this is the sort of tricky scenario that really limits women in pursuing career opportunities. Too often the harassment is not of the quid pro quo variety and so is ignored by management, and instead of the harasser facing consequences women simply decide to seek work elsewhere. I really wish that legal rights with harassment were covered in some sort of high school course, because without effectively using the powers we have that same sort of subtle disadvantage will continue, and without this course I could have gone through all of college without learning my rights.

Week 15

I thought the course touched upon everything of pertinence satisfactorily. This is the first course that I've taken on both gender studies and legal theory, so I started the course with a relatively clean slate. I'm sure a more curious person or someone with more experience in these subjects would have a better idea of what to add or withdraw, but I felt pretty happy under your wing of instruction.

I'm confused about feminist pragmatism and feminist Marxism. I understand the core ideas of the theories, but I disagree with their implementation sometimes. I'm still not sure what the sarcastic postmodern way of writing is, but I think it might have something to do with using humor as a form of consciousness-raising. I suppose I would like to know more about the court's argument for and/or against battered women defense.

Blog 15

Overall, I really enjoyed this class, and I feel like I have a better understanding of some of the laws that we studied. I also feel like I have a better understanding of the different feminist theories.I found the rape laws to be surprising and shocking. I really liked studying the court cases; I feel like they really aided in my understanding of the laws and issues associated with them. The topics that were most useful to me were probably bodily integrity and property. I would have liked to learn more about same-sex marriage, and I would have liked to study transgender rights.

blog 15

Overall what I liked about this class is that it clarified a lot of things about the law that you here about all the time but usually isn't true. What I found most interesting, and disturbing, was marital rape exemption law. It was very shocking to find that it actually exists. What I found most surprising is all of the technicalities that are used in courtrooms. Especially in cases like Roe v. Wade where the focus is on the technicalities of words. Which is a part of what I found so confusing; the lack of common sense due to focusing on minute details and specific Constitutional words. Mostly, what I find so focusing is the lack of common sense. There does not seem to be on overall view on a situation or case but on strictly holding to precedent.

What I would have like to have learned more about (and incidentally am doing my paper on) is sex education methods such as abstinence only programs and comprehensive sex education. A topic that I would have liked to spend more time on is transgender and transsexual rights

I think what I learned most about was just basic law and case information which, as I said in the beginning, is helpful information in everyday life. A topic that I think is especially relevant is reproductive rights.

Overall, great course =)

Week 15 Blog Assignment

Over the semester, we have studied a wide range of legal issues that impact women, some historical and some very current, and we have examined a range of feminist approaches to understanding and combating unequal treatment of women. In your blog post, I'd like to get feedback from you on the topics that we covered. What was most interesting, or surprising, or confusing? What legal issues, if any, would you like to have studied that were not on the syllabus? Which topics were most useful to you in terms of understanding your own legal rights? Are there topics on which we spent too much time, or not enough? Your honesty is appreciated; I hope to teach this course again, and your input will help me to improve the course going forward.