Gender Issues

Dance Halls, Masquerades, Body Protest and the Law

By December 13, 2016 No Comments

The Female Boday as a Redemptive Tool Against Trinidad’s Gender-Biased Laws

This article proposes that feminist jurisprudence considers the female body as a tool for redemption and liberation and showcases certain Trinidadian women as examples of women who use their bodies to fight patriarchy. The term body protest is coined in this article to describe women’s use of the female body as a mode of expression, and as a tool for liberation and transformation. The article argues that when reading these women’s bodies, we witness an organic feminism, which should lead us (academic feminists) to recognize our own internalized sexism, and limitations in arguing for women’s liberation. It uses the example of Trinidadian women to reach a deeper understanding of the role of the body in gender liberation. The article also attempts to further the feminist discourse by demonstrating how embracing the female body as redemptive can lead to a more liberated, inclusive and effective feminist agenda.

The recent discussions elicited by the Katelyn Faber vs. Kobe Bryant case in 2003 and the Supreme Court’s treatment of female bodily expressions in the nude cases reveal underlying assumptions about female bodily expressions that perpetuate patriarchy. Sexual profiling infiltrates all areas of life. It has even affected feminist jurisprudence’s treatment of the female body. Consequently, recognizing the underlying presence of sexual profiling in legal and feminists’ evaluations of female bodily expression is essential to advancing any women-centric legal reforms.

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