Cover: Butterfly Politics: Changing the World for Women, With a New Preface, from Harvard University PressCover: Butterfly Politics in PAPERBACK

Butterfly Politics

Changing the World for Women, With a New Preface

Watch Catharine MacKinnon discuss her career and the workings of legal and political activism at the RSA in London:

“Sometimes ideas change the world. This astonishing, miraculous, shattering, inspiring book captures the origins and the arc of the movement for sex equality. It’s a book whose time has come—always, but perhaps now more than ever.”—Cass Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge

Under certain conditions, small simple actions can produce large and complex “butterfly effects.” Butterfly Politics shows how Catharine A. MacKinnon turned discrimination law into an effective tool against sexual abuse—grounding and predicting the worldwide #MeToo movement—and proposes concrete steps that could have further butterfly effects on women’s rights. Thirty years after she won the U.S. Supreme Court case establishing sexual harassment as illegal, this timely collection of her previously unpublished interventions on consent, rape, and the politics of gender equality captures in action the creative and transformative activism of an icon.

Awards & Accolades

  • Catharine MacKinnon Is Winner of the 2014 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award, Association of American Law Schools Section on Women in Legal Education
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Who among us hasn’t considered what our lives would be like if we had taken alternate paths, made different decisions? Storytellers of every stripe write of the lives we didn’t have, says Andrew H. Miller, author of On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives. As we live through a worldwide pandemic, the ideas of what might have been are even more appealing. Much like the adolescents on the verge of adulthood in Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, Miller tells us, we wait to see what comes next.