Friday, May 30, 2014

Vancouver School Board Confronting Student Confidentiality Issues about Sexual Orientation

Vancouver's school board already has in place a laudable policy regarding students' sexual orientation:  

According to the policy statement, the board “is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe, inclusive, equitable, and welcoming learning and working environment for all members of the school community, including all students and employees who identify as (or are perceived as) lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, Two Spirit, intersex, queer and those who are questioning their sexual orientation and/or gender identity”.

But, now there's controversy.  

Ever since draft revisions were released in April, however, a firestorm has ensued, thwarting the board’s initial recommendation for approval at its May 20 meeting. Two public meetings have turned out to be so packed, and the debate so heated, that another is taking place on Thursday (May 29).

But those recommendations aren’t what have some parents so riled. Rather, it’s the suggestion that students who may be experiencing gender dysphoria (which is characterized by a marked difference between the individual’s expressed gender and the gender others would assign him or her) or other gender-identity issues have the right to confidentiality.

Parents, obviously, want to know such issues about their child.  But the child, so too, wants to confide in a teacher and have that discussion remain confidential.  

May 30, 2014 in LGBT | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pope Francis and Married Priests

So, a couple of days ago, Pope Francis had said that it may be possible, in the future, for the Catholic Church to openly accept married priests.  Here's some elaboration about that issue from the Catholic Reporter:  

  • One, while a married priesthood is often seen as part of the "liberal" agenda for reform that includes ordaining women priests and overturning teachings on homosexuality and birth control, it's not. In fact, church officials across the spectrum periodically raise the option of married priests -- while keeping celibacy as the norm -- but they often do so in private.
  • Two, because celibacy is a matter of law and tradition, not doctrine or dogma, it can be debated or even changed without signaling that the entire edifice of church teaching is about to crumble. Such a reform would be a pragmatic way of addressing a pastoral problem, and it has received a boost from none other than Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a favorite of conservatives, who allowed some married Anglican clergy to become Catholic priests.
  • Three, Francis has framed the celibacy reform as one that should emerge from a local context, which reinforces his goal of decentralizing power and authority in the church. Celibacy could be a useful means of solving a problem while promoting collegiality and the idea of organic change in Catholicism.

May 30, 2014 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Dish on Celebrities and Feminism

Jamie R. Abrams's picture

More from this month's guest blogger, Professor Jamie Abrams from the University of Louisville School of Law. Her scholarly interests include integrating masculinities theory in feminist law reforms such as military integration and domestic violence; examining the tort complexities governing standards of care in childbirth; gendered conceptualizations of citizenship; and legal education pedagogy.

Perhaps this post is just legitimizing my excessive consumption of media coverage of celebrity scuttlebutt, but I am at least thinly veiling it under my attempt to consider the longevity and adaptability of feminism.  The NYT covered the question of “Who is a Feminist Now” describing yet another celebrity who distanced herself from feminism.  Most recently, Shailene Woodley said she was not feminist “Because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need some balance.”  Putting aside the obvious logical flags in her suggestion that women and men in positions of power is not “balance,” the larger point of the article is the trend of young celebrities distancing themselves from feminism. 

The undercurrent of this article, and so many others like it, reveals a troubling disconnect in the definition of feminism’s goals and its application as a movement.  Part of the issue is the framing of the question “are you a feminist?”  The article ends with an interesting profile of students at the University of North Carolina who conducted a successful public relations campaign for feminism in which individuals needed to complete the sentence “I need feminism because . . .”  By reframing the question, the UNC project then concluded that “rather than claiming it as an identity, young people were able to say this is a toolkit I can use without making it ‘this is who I am and this is only who I am.’”

This connects to a broader point about the education of young people about women and feminism.  Youth are taught about events in women’s history, such as the Seneca Falls Convention and the ratification of the 19th Amendment.  They are taught about people in women’s history, such as Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.  Are they, however, taught about feminism as a tool for achieving historical and modern social and legal change?  If not explicitly taught, from what sources are women framing their definitions?  

I certainly am not overly alarmist regarding the longevity of feminism based on the views of a handful of celebrities, but the question remains, how did they develop their definition of feminism that frames the need for distancing?  In thinking about the sustainability of feminism, we must think about how, when, and why young people are introduced to feminism itself, if at all.  Just as the UNC project revealed, it needs to be presented as an adaptive tool to achieve a specific result that can address individual needs and achieve change that benefits all.  Such an approach reveals that historical celebration of the who and what of women’s history is insufficient without the why and how, which feminism addresses much more directly. 

May 29, 2014 in Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Feminist Legal Theory at Law & Society Beginning Today

Here is the final and revised schedule of the awesome Collaborative Research Network on Feminist Legal Theory at today's Law & Society Conference.  Hope to have some live blogging from Jamie Abrams.


 Book Discussion: Becoming Sexual by Danielle Egan 7 pm, University of Minnesota, Lindquist & Vennum Conference Room


 Alternatives to Marriage, Chair: June Carbone

Erez Aloni, Beyond Recognition: Redistribution in Family Law

Jessica Feinberg, The Survival of Non-Marital Relationship Statuses in the Same-Sex Marriage Era: A Proposal

Leslie Harris,Drifting Toward Marriage: How and Why Legal Structures for Alternative Family Forms Converge on Marriage

Theodore Seto, A Coasian Theory of Marriage

Discussants: Kerry Abrams, June Carbone


Feminist Perspectives on Health Care, Chair: Kara Loewentheil

Jamie Abrams, Revealing the Illusion of Patient Autonomy and the Ghost of Roe’s Medical Model

Kara Loewentheil, When Free Exercise Is a Burden: Protecting “Third Parties” In Religious Accommodation Law

Seema Mohapatra, Time to Lift the Veil of Inequality in Health Care Coverage: Using Corporate Law to Defend the Affordable Care Act’s Reproductive Health Care Mandate

Discussants:  Jessica Waters, Margaux Hall


ART and Parentage, Chair: Wendy Bach

Courtney Joslin, The Biology Myth

Jody Madiera, The Legal Consequences of Infertility Patients’ Self-Identification as Consumer or Patient

Dara Purvis, Fathers, Abortion, and Equal Rights

Kara Swanson, Alternative Insemination and Adoption: Historical Perspectives

Discussants: Johanna Bond, Deborah Dinner, Marie Failinger


Same Sex Marriage and Divorce, Chair: William Kuby

Cynthia Godsoe, Considering Gay Parenthood

Zvi Triger and Ayelet Blecher-Prigat, Same-Sex Divorce and the Right to Divorce

Ann Tweedy, Same-Sex Marriage and Indian Tribes

Deborah Widiss, Federal Marriage Discrimination, Take Two

Discussant: William Kuby


"Just the Facts:” Expertise and Empirical Evidence as Movement Strategies, Chair: Rachel Rebouche

 Libby Adler, Facts About Gay People

Aziza Ahmed, Medical Evidence and Expertise in Abortion Jurisprudence

Elizabeth Kukura, Contested Care: The Politics of Research, Evidence and Knowledge in U.S. Childbirth Policies

 Discussants: Elizabeth MacDowell, Rachel Rebouche                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   FRIDAY, MAY 30

 Roundtable: Feminist Legal Theory Half a Century after the Second Wave

Moderator/Discussant:  Clare Huntington

Susan Appleton and Susan Stiritz, Legal Education Gone Wild: Law and Literature and Sex

Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, Unequal Terms

Max Eichner, Second-Wave Feminism and the Market

Jennifer Hendricks, Schrodinger’s Child: Non-Identity, Probability, and Reproductive Decision-Making


The Economics of Intergenerational Care, Chair: Dirk Hartog 

 Alicia Kelly, Intergenerational Economies

Nina Kohn, Valuing Care

Peggie Smith, Compensating Family Members to Care for Elderly Relatives

Amy Ziettlow, “Money and Stuff:” Gen X Caregivers and Financial Decision-making for Their Baby Boomer Parents

 Discussant:  Naomi Cahn


 Roundtable:  Anniversary of Fineman’s Feminism and Legal Theory Project, Chair: Hila Keren

June Carbone, Univ. of Minnesota Law

Martha A. Fineman, Emory Law School

Michele Goodwin, Univ. of Minnesota Law

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Univ. of Minnesota Law School

Dorothy Roberts, Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School

Laura Spitz, Cornell Law School

Jessica Dixon Weaver, Southern Methodist Univ. Law School

 Discussant: Laura Kessler


Subordination and Power in Families, Chair:  Laura Kessler

 Samantha Godwin, A Feminist Critique of Parental Rights

Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, The Case Against Separating the Care from the Caregiver: A Relational Perspective on Children’s Rights

Aníbal Rosario Lebrón, Scorned Law: Rethinking Impeachment Rules for Battered Women

Sarah Swan, Third-Party Policing Comes Home: Gender, Control, and Responsibilization in Family Life

 Discussants: Wendy Bach, Laura Kessler, Rachel Rebouche


 Sexual Violence, Chair: Jessica Clarke 

 Mary Ann Franks, Men, Women, and Optimal Violence

Ummni Khan, Representing ‘John’: The Legal Reification of Sex Trade Clients and their Potential Status as Constitutional Subjects

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Gendered Harms and their Interface with International Criminal Law: Norms, Challenges, and Domestication

Menaka Raguparan, Consent/non Consent: Challenging Sexual Assault Law’s Generative Meaning  

Valarie Vojdik, Theorizing Violence Against Men

 Discussants: Neha Jain,Deborah Tuerkheimer, Bela August Walker


 Families and Family – New Books Exploring the Past and Imagining the Future

Chair: Laurie Kohn

Jill Hasday, Family Law Reimagined

Clare Huntington, Failure to Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships 

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, According to Our Hearts: Rhinelander v. Rhinelander and the Law of the Multiracial Family

 Discussants: Katharine Bartlett,Robin Lenhardt



 Parenting Outside of Marriage: The Legal History of Fathers’ Rights, Illegitimacy, and Child Custody from Blackstone to Reagan(co-sponsor Law and History), Chair/Discussant: Kristin Collins

Sarah Abramowicz, The Construction of Motherhood and the Regulation of Fatherhood in Early 19th-Century English Child Custody Law

Deborah Dinner, Liberated Patriarchs: The Fathers’ Rights Movement, 1960-1980

Serena Mayeri, Unmarried Fathers, Sex Equality, and Marital Supremacy, 1970-1983

Mary Ziegler, Illegitimate Conceptions: Unwed Motherhood and the Remaking of the Abortion Wars                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

May 29, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Women's Writing Retreat - How are we Doing?

Ok, we have two days of the writing retreat under our belt. How are we doing?

Sarah Morath says "Having a week dedicated to writing is a treat. Grades are in, the fall seems like the distant future, the kids are still in school. This week is my week to write!"  She adds: "The week is further sweetened by lunching with my colleagues each day. (Eating a proper lunch in good company four days in a row! Now, that's as rare as having a week dedicated to writing)."

Me? It's been slower than usual for me.  Lots of stops and starts.  Both figuratively and literally.  I'm thinking its because last year I had a discrete project - a book introduction.  This year I am in the middle of chapter 4 of my book project.  

But it's a new day...

May 29, 2014 in Law schools, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Advancing Women Lawyers, Masterminds not Required

I want to come back to John's post from yesterday. This really resonates with me.  This was my experience during my tenure in a Washington, D.C. law firm.  Gender equity and diversity came not from women’s support groups, what we now call lean in circles, but from men in power delegating and dispensing power to women.

Early in my second year at the law firm, 1992, 22 years ago, we had a ladies lunch.  Officially  a business lunch of women associates at the firm, maybe 30 plus women in the room.  We heard testimonies of women who exemplified how they were making it work.  One woman, a senior associate, told how her male supervising partner valued her work, allowed her to go to 80% time so she could work 9-5, and how her husband had primary caregiving responsibility for their two young children.  Another junior associate told how it was easier for her to have her two children early in her career, as the ongoing years increased responsibility and client connection that unlike a research memo, could not be easily transferred.  Another senior associate advised to make yourself indispensable to your supervising partner, always doing excellent work, making yourself accessible at home (this was before cell phones found you anywhere).  

But none of this is what really made a material difference to the women attorneys.  What mattered was the men in power investing in their women associates.  (There were only a handful of female partners among the hundreds at the firm at the time). Providing good work, mediating any client issues, and supporting those women as they came up through the ranks in terms of promotion and salary.  One male partner I worked for from the start threw me into depositions, briefing, oral arguments, and wrote solid, supportive, professional advancement reviews.  Another provided helpful professional advice as to next steps and development, providing opportunities for professional growth and increasingly sophisticated lawyering.  Conversely, another relegated me as a senior associate to the backroom and bottom-tier status of fact gather and memo writer on an antitrust case. In another example, my friend and colleague became partner while on permanent part-time status, again, proactively sponsored by a senior male partner from the firm's management group.  

It doesn’t take one mastermind to change the world.  It takes each person in power simply training, promoting, and investing equally in women.  Maybe that has to be deliberate and planned until it becomes reflexive. 

May 29, 2014 in Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Strange News from Brown University

From HuffPost: 

A federal complaint filed Thursday against Brown University accuses the Ivy League school of violating the law by failing to expel a student the institution found had raped a fellow undergraduate.


Brown student Lena Sclove, who was raped and choked by a male acquaintance in August 2013, said she filed complaints accusing Brown of violating the Title IX gender equity law, and the Clery Act campus security law. The complaints will be reviewed by the U.S. Education Department, which may investigate and impose sanctions.


A university disciplinary hearing in October found Sclove's assailant guilty of four code of conduct charges, including sexual violence involving physical force and injury, according to documents provided to The Huffington Post. A disciplinary panel recommended a two-year suspension, which would have allowed Sclove to finish her studies without the assailant's presence on campus. J. Allen Ward, Brown's senior associate dean of student life, reduced the suspension to one year. But because the suspension counts the semester he was punished, the assailant will be allowed back on campus as early as August.

May 28, 2014 in Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (1)

Gianmarco Monsellato Thinks "Lean In" and "Diversity Programs" are a Joke

Gianmarco Monsellato is a partner at the No. 5 law firm in France. His firm also has 50/50 gender balance at every level--including equity partnership.    

How did he do it? Dramatically differently than most law firms. Most of his competitors have spent years organizing women’s initiatives, networks, or mentoring programs that have done little to increase the percentage of women reaching the top. The National Association of Women Lawyers’ recent report is pretty clear: These “fix the women” approaches have not delivered.

Monsellato puts the burden squarely on the partner himself to be extremely proactive:  

Instead, Monsellato tackled the problem personally. He was involved in every promotion discussion. “For a long time,” he says, “I was the only one allocating cases.” He insisted on gender parity from the beginning. He personally ensured that the best assignments were evenly awarded between men and women. He tracked promotions and compensation to ensure parity. If there was a gap, he asked why. He put his best female lawyers on some of his toughest cases. When clients objected, he personally called them up and asked them to give the lawyer three months to prove herself. In every case, the client was quick to agree and managed to overcome the initial gender bias.

The idea is intriguing.  It is also an idea that probably requires the right combination of corporate culture, amenable clients, and, most importantly, a highly deft corporate leader who also possesses an unusal charisma and great foresight about business productivity.  Not easy to duplicate this model.  

May 28, 2014 in Equal Employment, Gender, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why We Need Both Feminism and Masculinities to Address Gendered Violence

Jamie R. Abrams's picture

More from this month's guest blogger, Professor Jamie Abrams from the University of Louisville School of Law. Her scholarly interests include integrating masculinities theory in feminist law reforms such as military integration and domestic violence; examining the tort complexities governing standards of care in childbirth; gendered conceptualizations of citizenship; and legal education pedagogy.

The latest mass shooting in Isla Vista, California adds to a troublesome lineage of mass shootings by male shooters in the United States.  The New York Times covers the issue of gendered violence at Campus Killings Set Off Anguished Conversation.  The article highlights how the killings have “set off a raw, anguished conversation about the ways women are perceived sexually and the violence against them that has reverberated around the country.”  The NYT coverage reveals how both feminism and masculinities are needed to address the gendered complexities of violence. 

The Good Men Project reveals the masculinities underpinnings of mass shootings here.  I have written about these issues in The Collateral Consequences of Masculinizing Violence, in which I considered the masculinity underpinnings of a similar mass shooting of women at a Pennsylvania fitness club by George Sodini in 2009 to raise questions about the masculinization of violence in legal frameworks.  The pressures to conform to dominant masculinities can lead some men to hyper-masculine expressions of violence.  Those hyper-masculine expressions can often follow a direct challenge to an individual’s dominant conception of masculinity, such as the loss of a job or rejection by women.  Lisa Hickey of the Good Men Project, a project I was first introduced to by the Gender and the Law Blog last year, adds this additional lens of masculinities to the many other social frames to be considered in connection with mass shootings, such as access to mental health services, gun control, and violence against women.









May 27, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (1)

Women's Writing Retreat

Today begins my week long women's writing retreat.  The idea was first suggested to me seven years ago by Prof. Mae Quinn.  It adopts the concept of the novelist's writers' group to law scholarship.  I previously wrote about it here.

In the early years, four of my female colleagues and I rented a house at Lake Chautauqua.  We spread out into sunrooms, dining rooms, and porches to jump start our summer research away from meetings, carpools, and other distractions.  Nestled in idyllic tranquility the creative juices flowed and a good bulk of research or written pages achieved.  And need I say how wonderful it was to have a week where people made and brought you coffee, chopped the salad vegetables, cleaned up their mess and yours, and changed the TP roll.  

 These days many of us have a hard time leaving town due to other work, family, and financial demands.  So we've adapted to a day retreat.  Like day camp instead of overnight camp.  We meet off campus at a community library and work at the carrels and tables.  We go out for lunch, sharing our ideas, testing theses, mentoring and generally rooting each other on. At the end of the week, we have an informal workshop sharing what we've produced.  That has the added push of some goal achievement as the research summer has just begun.

 We have a great, eclectic group of six women this year.  Assitant professor to dean.  Four years of teaching to thirty plus.  First-year teacher, clinician, legal writing professor, and upper-level teacher.  Projects range from book reviews and essays, to traditional law reviews, and book projects.   

 I'm hoping they will be inclined to share some of their thoughts about this process as we blog this week. 

May 27, 2014 in Law schools | Permalink | Comments (1)

Organizational Psychology as Applied to Law Faculties

Nice Guys (and Girls) Do Finish First.  "The hot new theory that says generous people do better at work than selfish ones."  The organizational psychology research documents three types of workers: takers - the "what's in in for me"; matchers - quid pro quo; and givers - give with no expectation of reciprocity.  I bet most Associate Deans can attest to this categorization.  The surprising news in this research is that givers end up at both ends of the spectrum - as both stars and doormats.  The goal is to give without sacrificing your own goals.  

May 27, 2014 in Education, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Navy SEALS and Elliot Rodger

On this Memorial Day, it is fitting that I should post about the military.  And, sadly, it is also perhaps appropriate that I comment about the ugly murders that were perpetuated by Elliot Rodger this weekend.  

The mentally unstable young man had written an elaborate 140 page manifesto summarizing his life and his reasons for his massacre at UCSB.  I did not read every page of the manifesto but a lucid pattern emerges.  Rodger was desperately insecure in his masculinity, or rather, his complete absence of such.  He was afraid of girls, afraid of friendships, afraid of being a decent human being who cared about others, and always afraid to ask for help.  A coward to the very end, he killed himself to escape punishment for his crimes.  

Throughout Rodger's deranged manifesto, he had given poignant testimony to his narcissistic personality disorder.  At the end, he referred to himself as a "god" who could end life.

One day before Rodger's killing, Admiral McRaven, a Navy SEAL for 36 years, delivered the commencement address at UT Austin.  He also spoke, albeit indirectly, about manliness because the SEALS are emblematic of it and women, at this time, are not members.  He urged the graduates--including, he specifically said, female grads--to model themselves after the SEALS.  

At least one lesson bespoke a manliness that seemed to be informed by those virtues that society has traditionally deemed....feminine.  

McRaven told the students that you're not a god and that no one is; learn that you need others' help and don't be afraid to ask for it.  "Find someone to help you through life....and respect everyone."  

Femininity....a good place for manliness.....

May 25, 2014 in Manliness, Masculinities, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Revenge for Rejected Sexual Advances Actionable Sex Discrimination under Title VII

Velazquez-Perez v. Developers Diversified Realty, (1st Cir.) (May 23, 2014): The First Circuit decided a case answering the novel question of whether an employer can be held liable for sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "when it terminates a worker whose job performance has been maligned by a jilted co-worker intent on revenge?"  The court answered yes.  If: 1) the coworker acted, for discriminatory reasons, with the intent to cause the plaintiff's firing; 2) the co-worker's actions were in fact the proximate cause of the termination; and 3) the employer allowed the co-worker's acts to achieve their desired effect though it knew (or reasonably should have known) of the discriminatory motivation.  Thus a male manager who was fired after he rejected a female co-worker, and married human resource manager's sexual advances, could pursue the claim beyond summary judgment.

May 24, 2014 in Equal Employment, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Calls Again to Change Iowa's Pink Locker Room

From the Daily Iowan: Editorial: Time to Redecorate Kinnick's Pink Locker Room

When opponents of the Iowa football team walk into their locker room on any given autumn Saturday, they are met with a tradition that is unique even by the somewhat off-kilter standards of college sports traditions. The locker room, the walls, the stalls, the towels, the floor, even the urinals, rather than displaying the shade of white common in most Iowa facilities, are bright pink.


The famous pink locker room, started in 1979 by legendary football coach Hayden Fry and garishly renovated in 2005, have become ingrained into the university’s DNA. There is a time when all trends must die, however: The pink locker room should be redecorated.


It’s blatantly obvious that the pink locker room is a rather childish example of a destructive and anachronistic culture. As University of Iowa Professor Kembrew McLeod pointed out in the Des Moines Register last week, the governing philosophy behind the color arrangement is that pink is a “girl” color; forcing the über-masculine opponents of the Hawkeyes to prepare themselves in the presence of a “feminine” color will disturb the opposing players’ minds so much that they will fail to conquer the Hawkeyes.

May 24, 2014 in Gender, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Books: Becoming Sexual

Next week, a book group from the feminist legal theory collaborative network meeting at Law & Society will discuss Danielle Egan's, Becoming Sexual: A Critical Appraisal of the Sexualization of Girls.

The sexualization of girls has captured the attention of the media, advocacy groups and politicians in recent years. This prolific discourse sets alarm bells ringing: sexualization is said to lead to depression, promiscuity and compassion deficit disorder, and rob young girls of their childhood. However, measuring such claims against a wide range of data sources reveals a far more complicated picture.


Becoming Sexual begins with a simple question: why does this discourse feel so natural? Analyzing potent cultural and historical assumptions, and subjecting them to measured investigation, R. Danielle Egan illuminates the implications of dominant thinking on sexualization. The sexualized girl functions as a metaphor for cultural decay and as a common enemy through which adult rage, discontent and anxiety regarding class, gender, sexuality, race and the future can be expressed. Egan argues that, ultimately, the popular literature on sexualization is more reflective of adult disquiet than it is about the lives and practices of girls

May 24, 2014 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Manliness and Memorial Day

With Memorial Day coming up,  I wanted to list some books about manliness that are particularly good.  

Front Cover

Karl Marlantes What It Is Like to Go to War bravely expels a lot of tiresome myths about combat, and also does a fine job of illuminating PTSD.  Marlantes was a decorated war veteran in Vietnam as well as a Rhodes Scholar, and the book sketches with honesty the madness of hypermasculinity and the sort of manliness that is required to survive as a soldier, and afterwards, come to terms with war in morally acceptable ways.  

Front Cover

 More recently, there is Sebastian Junger's War.  Junger is a reporter and he was embedded with Marines in Afghanistan.  Like Marlantes, Junger is a deft writer who captures well the paradoxical nature of manliness in war--its destructive, and self-destructive propensities--along with its capacity for intense friendship and sacrifice.  

May 23, 2014 in Books, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is “Armchair Warfare” the Newest Threat to Institutional Masculinities?

Jamie R. Abrams's picture

More from this month's guest blogger, Professor Jamie Abrams from the University of Louisville School of Law. Her scholarly interests include integrating masculinities theory in feminist law reforms such as military integration and domestic violence; examining the tort complexities governing standards of care in childbirth; gendered conceptualizations of citizenship; and legal education pedagogy.


In the “Limits of Armchair Warfare,” an Op. Ed. contributed by experienced military veterans, the authors caution that the increased reliance on drones and drone pilots is part of “a disturbing pattern” devaluing frontline military service.  Citing specific examples, they assert that both military leadership and the American public share blame.  They suggest, “military leadership has become so enamored of the technological mystique of drones that they have lost touch with the realities of the modern battlefield.”  They further critique that the “American public, which has largely absolved itself of responsibility for sending nearly three million of its citizens to fight, neither knows nor cares to know the real price of war.”

The points raised by these military veterans are thought provoking regarding the transformative shifts in modern military service and military capabilities.  Yet, underlying this critique sits an undercurrent seeking to preserve dominant masculinities within institutional military culture.  I have written previously about the ways in which military service fused citizenship itself with dominant conceptions of masculinities historically and remain tethered today, even in a voluntary enlistment military. 

This Op. Ed. foreshadows that even as the military undergoes the full integration of women, the underlying reverence for masculine institutional hierarchies persists.  For example, the Op. Ed. piece bluntly states that “those on the front lines require real courage because they face real danger.”  Military culture has a deep history of constructing military identity on a model of institutional “othering” of various social groups, including women, gays and lesbians. 

This Op. Ed. leaves me wondering whether drone technology represents the new “other” that threatens the preservation of dominant masculine hierarchies in the military?  As women are formally integrated into all branches of the military and as technology transforms military service itself, I am hopeful that longstanding gender hierarchies can be abolished in ways that both advance the power and efficacy of our military and respect and celebrate the military service of all.  

May 22, 2014 in Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Today's Status on Same-Sex Marriage

A good summary of the national legal status of same-sex marriage as of yesterday.   See Gay Marriage Map: Where is Same-Sex Marriage Legal?  Except, that it even it is outdated, as Montana now has a court challenge filed. 

May 22, 2014 in LGBT, Same-sex marriage | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wikipedia as Feminist Activism

From Ms., Writing Her In: Wikipedia as Feminist Activism.  An easy, and immediate way to change and correct history.  Just do it. 

I’m tired of looking for important female artists on Wikipedia and finding no information, while second-rate male artists have pages and pages written about them.


The Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon was dedicated to changing this.During the edit-a-thon, Lesperance wrote a Wikipedia entry for Christina Ramberg. “There is no good reason why she wasn’t already on there,” Lesperance told me. “All of her male colleagues of the Chicago Imagists were represented on Wikipedia, and I’m finding this [omission] is typical.”


Omissions like this can be easily corrected. Lesperance said she felt an “air of empowerment at the ease with which an addition to that archive—which receives so much readership—takes place.”

May 22, 2014 in Legal History, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Empirical Database on Gender Diversity in the Patent Bar

 Saurabh Vishnubhakat (Postdoc, Duke & NIH),  has posted Gender Diversity in the Patent Bar, 14 John Marshall L. Rev. __ (2014).  From the abstract:

This article describes the state of gender diversity across technology and geography within the U.S. patent bar. The findings rely on a new gender-matched dataset, the first public dataset of its kind, not only of all attorneys and agents registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, but also of attorneys and agents on patents granted by the USPTO. To enable follow-on research, the article describes all data and methodology and offers suggestions for refinement. This study is timely in view of renewed interest about the participation of women in the U.S. innovation ecosystem, notably the provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act directing the USPTO to study diversity, including gender diversity, among patent applicants, and of related research by the National Women’s Business Council on usage of the U.S. patent and trademark systems by U.S.-based female entrepreneurs. Analysis of gender data on the patent bar complements these studies and begins to provide a more complete picture of diversity in the U.S. patent system.


May 22, 2014 in Business, Gender, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)