North American scholarship has charted resonances between 1990s legislative and feminist discourse concerning violence against women. Feminist critique of official discourse surrounding the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 suggests that 1990s resonances did not reach the UK: however, an examination of the Hansard debates suggests this under-estimates the influence of feminist discourse. Halley’s discussion of “bad faith” helps to explain both the tendency of feminists to under-estimate their influence and why this matters. A commitment to an understanding of themselves as powerless may encourage feminists to underplay similarities between feminist and official discourse, leading feminists to find only what they expect. Such an understanding gives feminism the capacity to change social life without acknowledging, let alone agonising over, the full range of its distributive effects. This is most troubling in relation to “carceral” feminism, since under-assessment of feminist impact encourages amplification and intensification of the carceral message
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