More than a woman? Embodiment and sexual difference in medical law

Feminist Legal Studies 8 (3):319-342 (2000)

This article examines law’s representation of embodied female identity in the context of two medical law cases, R. v. Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, ex parte Blood andB v. Croydon Health Authority. Through an examination of contemporary critiques of female embodiment, in particular the work of Judith Butler, two discursive strategies are suggested for their potential to reconfigure the sexed subject within legal discourse. Firstly, the act of transgression – the flight from purportedly fixed subject positions – can be read in the case of Bloodand calls into question law’s ability to contain and sustain sexed identity as prediscursive and immutable. Secondly, the exposure of the historical formation of the female subjects of legal discourse, demonstrated through a genealogical reading of B v. Croydon Health Authority, contributes to the feminist theoretical project to destabilise traditional gender categories and enables us to think beyond the category of ‘Woman’
Keywords embodiment  feminist legal theory  medical law  subjectivity
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1009288503511
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