Although there are many engaging thoughts depicted in the essay, I was fascinated by the discussion of sexual intercourse in the context of feminism and jurisprudence. In particular, the quotation “Sometimes, the skin comes off in sex” by Andrea Dworkin grasped my attention (West 218). The sentiment, which describes the vulnerability that is innate to sexual intercourse, is powerful. Although the topic of sex is often brought into the daylight today, there is still a taboo on the discussion of the real intimacy that it entails and the influence it has on its participants. In the context of otherness and all the differences highlighted in the essay, this merging of two human beings is an important juxtaposing concept.
According to the liberal legalists, a person is free when he is autonomous. The separation, and the distinction between one and another, are what makes people “existentially free” (West 213). According to cultural feminists, one of the major distinctions between men and women is that women raise children and nourish them (West 217). Furthermore, the separation that they experience is a source of misery, and they live for the sake of others (West 217). On the other hand, radical feminists argue that the connectedness with others is what lies at the heart of women’s misery (West 217). Whatever the theory, there is a persistent focus on the otherness concept.
West refers to the essential differences in the nature of men and women, as well as cultural, although it is difficult to tell if one can be judged completely separately from the other. Over the years, the feminist movements, even the most progressive ones, were shaped by the cultural dogmas of the times. It is impossible to separate one’s cultural and nurtured understanding of the world from their judgement, and therefore it is difficult to make claims on what is and is not a biological difference. West acknowledges this in her writing, citing the different perspectives on the issues.
West, Robin. “Jurisprudence and Gender.” Readings in the Philosophy of Law, edited by John Arthur and William H. Shaw, Pearson Prentice Hall, 1993, pp. 212-223.