Gendered Violence and International Human Rights: Thinking Non-discrimination Beyond the Sex Binary


McNeilly, Kathryn. 2014. “Gendered Violence and International Human Rights: Thinking Non-Discrimination Beyond the Sex Binary.” Feminist Legal Studies 22 (3): 263–83. doi:10.1007/s10691-014-9268-y.

Author: Kathryn McNeilly


The concept of non-discrimination has been central in the feminist challenge to gendered violence within international human rights law. This article critically explores non-discrimination and the challenge it seeks to pose to gendered violence through the work of Judith Butler. Drawing upon Butler’s critique of heteronormative sex/gender, the article utilises an understanding of gendered violence as effected by the restrictive scripts of sex/gender within heteronormativity to illustrate how the development of non-discrimination within international human rights law renders it ineffective to challenge gendered violence due to its own commitments to binarised and asymmetrical sex/gender. However, the article also seeks to encourage a reworking of non-discrimination beyond the heteronormative sex binary through employing Butler’s concept of cultural translation. Analysis via the lens of cultural translation reveals the fluidity of non-discrimination as a universal concept and offers new possibilities for feminist engagement with universal human rights.

Keywords: gendered violence, Non-discrimination, Sex/gender, Judith Butler, heteronormativity

Topics: Gender Analysis, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Law, International Human Rights, LGBTQ, Women's Rights, Violence

Year: 2014

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