ABSTRACT. To what extent does the essentialist Cult of Domesticity still haunt the legal imagination in the United States and elsewhere? This paper scrutinizes the feminist slogan “the personal is political” through a series of reform legal discourses and their repercussions for women and girls in the United States. I question whether feminist demands have actually improved the legal status of cisgender women, trans* and genderqueer people. In my critique of criminal and family court justice, I propose an alternate penal abolitionist path, Ubuntu justice.

Keywords: gender bias; racial bias; criminal justice; cult of domesticity; unities doctrine; Ubuntu justice

How to cite: Nagel, Mechthild (2016), “Gender and the Law,” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 6(2): 107–119.

Received 10 October 2016 • Received in revised form 31 October 2016
Accepted 1 November 2016 • Available online 10 November 2016


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State University of New York, Cortland

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