3 thoughts on “Helen Mirren needs to stop talking about rape prosecutions

  1. I just noticed this for the first time when it was linked in the newer post on Jeremy Irons (https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/jeremy-irons-on-sexual-harassment/)

    I think the criticisms of Mirren were mostly misguided.

    First of all, Vera Baird’s critique that Mirren misstated how juries are selected applies to the UK. The prosecution and defence DO exercise an influence over the composition of juries in the United States (where, not surprisingly, the vast majority of empirical work in jury science has been carried out, and UK barristers such as Baird tend to be relatively unacquainted with the field).

    Second, Mirren’s observations about women jurors’ tendencies in such cases find support in the literature (among several examples, Batchelder et al.’s “Women’s Hostility Toward Women in Rape Trials: Testing the Intra-Female Gender Hostility Thesis”, 28 American Journal of Criminal Justice 181 (2004)). Of *course* they were generalisations about group tendencies (duh!), but Baird was either mistaken or fibbing when she suggested that they were generalisations based on nothing.

    So it’s not as though Mirren was just making things up, or that her opinions are devoid of support among authorities in such matters. What she had to say was just unpalatable to some.

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