Univ of Toronto Pr
In this fascinating study of sexuality, family, and the law, historian Joan Sangster focuses on key issues that drew women into the courts, as plaintiffs and defendants: incest and sexual abuse, wife assault, prostitution, female delinquency, and the unique 'colonization of the soul' that Aboriginal women had to endure before the law.Book News
The legal treatment accorded the women who came before Ontario courts reveals a web of regulation shaping societally-defined notions of sexuality, the family, and gender roles for all women, argues Sangster (history and women's studies, Trent U., Canada). She examines the records of women before the court for the period 1920 to 1960, drawing on the critical theories of feminism, Marxism, and Foucaldian analysis. She examines the intersection between gender, class, and race as they are demonstrated in the differential treatment women received before the courts, either as social "deviants" or victims demanding that they have a voice in justice. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)University of Toronto Press
For people living in Ontario, as throughout Canada, the period from 1920 to 1960 was one of great change and turmoil – the roaring twenties the Great Depression, the upheaval of war, and the economic boom of the postwar years. One constant in society over those years, however, was the differential treatment that females and males received before the law, especially in regard to family matters and sexuality. A patriarchal justice system, increasingly under the influence of 'expert' opinion from social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other medial doctors, openly espoused a sexual double standard and sough to regulate the behaviour of girls and women 'for their own good'. Indeed, women in physically abusive relationships were at times advised by judges, probation officers, and social workers to 'go home and sleep with your husband' on the assumption that keeping him sexually sated would end the violence.
In this fascinating study of sexuality, family, and the law, historian Joan Sangster focuses on key issues that drew women into the courts, as plaintiffs and defendants: incest and sexual abuse, wife assault, prostitution, female delinquency, and the unique 'colonization of the soul' that Aboriginal women had to endure before the law. As Sangster writes: 'While history does not offer pat solutions to present dilemmas, it may stimulate some sobering second thoughts on current debates – by dissecting the changing definitions of criminality and the process by which law constituted gender, race, and class relations; by mounting a critique of past reform efforts; and, importantly, by suggesting how the law affected the lives of girls and women who came into conflict with it.'Oxford University Press
Analyzing key examples of the sexual and familial regulation (through the law) of girls and women in twentieth-century Canada, this work explores the ways in which class, race, and gender shape the definition and punishment of criminality. It also examines the changing social and legal definitions of "normal" versus "criminal" sexual and family relationships, using case studies of incest, childhood sexual abuse, wife assault, prostitution, girls in conflict with the law, and Native women and the law.