Thursday, July 29, 2021

A Feminist Analysis of the International Mediation Process

Jenna Sapiano, The Boundaries of Peace: A Feminist Analysis of International Mediation Processes  
Griffith Law Review, Forthcoming

The assumption that peace mediation is gender-neutral reproduces and reinforces the already gendered aftermath(s) of war. Peace mediation is a multilayered conflict resolution mechanism that ranges from grassroots peacebuilding to high-level diplomacy. As a ‘language of peace’, international law has become foundational in high-level peace mediation processes and institutions. International legal feminist and queer theory are critical of international law for its gendered and heteronormative frameworks that reinforce the binaries of war/peace, masculine/feminine or heterosexual/homosexual. Global governance gender law reforms, such as the Women, Peace and Security agenda, are part of the institutional frameworks that guide peace mediation processes. High-level peace mediators are also members of an ‘epistemic community’ regulated by international and regional organizations. The article analyses how masculine and heteronormative international legal institutions and experts shape peace mediation’s already gendered processes and outcomes. The article concludes that contemporary peace mediation approaches must be rethought and that alternatives to the traditional peace table must be imagined.

July 29, 2021 in Business, Courts, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Learning from the European Union Model of Corporate Board Diversity and Gender Equity

Kimberly Houser & Jamillah Bowman Williams, Board Gender Diversity: A Path to Achieving Substantive Equality in the U.S., 63 William & Mary L. Rev. (forthcoming) 

 While the United States made history this year with Kamala Harris becoming the first woman, Black, and Asian Vice President, the country overall has been rapidly losing its status as a global power founded on democratic principles. This is in part due to the leadership’s active involvement in reducing the rights of women, Black people, and other marginalized groups. We use gender diversity on corporate boards as a comparative example, to examine the legal frameworks designed to promote equality in the EU and U.S.

While the European Union (EU) was founded on the concept of equality as a fundamental value in 1993, the United States (U.S.) was created at a time when women were considered legally inferior to men. This has had the lasting effect of preventing women in the U.S. from making inroads into positions of power. While legislated board gender diversity mandates have been instituted in some EU countries, the United States has been loath to take that route, relying instead on the goodwill of corporate boards with little progress. On September 30, 2018, however, California enacted a law that has stirred much controversy for requiring at least one woman to be on the boards of corporations headquartered in the state by 2020. Based on our analysis, the CA bill and other similar legislative efforts will fail without parallel constitutional action and cultural change in the United States.

We begin by examining the individual, institutional, and cultural reasons why the U.S. lags so far behind the rest of the industrialized world. We then discuss recent activism by powerful institutions such as NASDAQ and Goldman Sachs that may be signs of broader cultural change and receptiveness to positive action. Next, we conduct an analysis of the legislative, cultural, and constitutional factors that have helped the EU succeed in increasing board diversity. We conclude by offering a normative solution that can pave the way to achieving gender equality in the United States. Learning from the EU model, the U.S. must let go of the Equal Rights Amendment and adopt a Substantive Equality Amendment to the Constitution requiring positive action to facilitate laws enabling gender equality. This solution will have broad cultural impact outside of the board context and will help change the lived experiences and outcomes for women in the United Stated for generations to come. It will change the course of history.

July 29, 2021 in Business, International, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

CFP Applied Feminism and The Big Idea

APPLIED FEMINISM AND “THE BIG IDEA”

The Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law seeks paper proposals for the Thirteenth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  We hope you will join us for this exciting conference on Friday, April 8, 2022.  This year, we aim to capture, develop, and disseminate cutting edge theorizing around issues of gender equity and intersectionality. 

We are in a tumultuous period of history in which we are grappling with a global health pandemic and sharp political polarization, while also experiencing flourishing movements for racial and gender justice.  This is a time for innovation and creativity — for highlighting ideas that create a more just society. We want to explore how feminist legal theory is responding and growing during this time and bridging toward a future of greater gender and intersectional justice. Thus, we seek submissions of papers that have “big ideas” about issues related to feminist legal theory and other critical legal theories from a variety of substantive disciplines and perspectives. As always, the Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners, and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on connections between theory and practice to effectuate social change. The conference will be open to the public and will feature a keynote speaker. Past keynote speakers have included Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Gloria Steinem.

To submit a paper proposal, by Friday, October 29, 2021, please complete this form and include your 500 word abstract: https://forms.gle/L4rdht7te3WuRTtPA We will notify presenters of selected papers by early December. About half the presenter slots will be reserved for authors who commit to publishing in the annual symposium volume of the University of Baltimore Law Review. Thus, the form requests that you indicate if you interested in publishing in the University of Baltimore Law Review's symposium issue. Authors who are interested in publishing in the Law Review will be strongly considered for publication. For all presenters, working drafts of papers will be due no later than March 18, 2022. Presenters are responsible for their own travel costs; the conference will provide a discounted hotel rate as well as meals.

We look forward to your submissions. If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Michele Gilman at mgilman@ubalt.edu. For additional information about the conference, please visit law.ubalt.edu/caf.

July 27, 2021 in Call for Papers, Conferences, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Functional and Contextual Analysis of Dignity as an Organizing Principle Underpinning Rape Law

Anna High, Sexual Dignity in Rape Law, 33 Yale J. Law & Feminism (2021)  

Dignity is a famously contested concept, suggesting its deployment as a legal principle should be closely scrutinized. This Article sets out a functional and contextual analysis of dignity as an organizing principle underpinning rape law, which I term “sexual dignity”. Based on sexual violence theory, I trace the “democratization” of sexual dignity over time, as dignity and attendant rights of autonomy and equality have gradually extended from man to the (qualified) woman to women as a group, and identify an emerging contemporary feminist consensus on the meaning of sexual dignity. This framework is then applied to a critical review of how judges across common law jurisdictions understand and use dignity in decisions on rape. The caselaw of sexual dignity illustrates that dignity is a usefully capacious concept for exploring and condemning the multiplicity of rape’s harms and wrongs. However, uncritical engagement with sexual dignity can be harmful, with implications both for rape law and for the regulation of sexual behaviour generally. As such, I argue that robust and reflective engagement with sexual dignity is both necessary and productive.

July 22, 2021 in Constitutional, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

New Book: A Psychoanalyst Explores Toxic Masculinity and Violence Against Women

NY Review of Books, Christine Smallwood, The Power of Questions, reviewing Jacqueline Rose's On Violence and On Violence Against Women

[M]ale violence against women....is a tool designed, as Jacqueline Rose writes in her new book, On Violence and On Violence Against Women, “to remind the girl or woman of what she is”—to gender her as female. For Rose ..., gender-based violence is not caused by sexual difference—neither attributes aggression to, for example, an excess of testosterone—rather it establishes the hierarchy of sexual difference. 

Rose would ... add that ... violence is not the expression of a power they have, but of power they lack. ... As Rose would put it, he hits her to shore up his “fraudulent authority.”

Psychoanalysis has a word for this behavior, and it is “narcissism.” “Narcissism starts with the belief that the whole world is at your feet, there solely for you to manipulate,” explains Rose.

What is “fraudulent” about the authority of Stanleys everywhere is that it is rooted in denial. Women can and do commit acts of violence. But male violence interests Rose because it expresses the fundamental psychoanalytic mechanism of shame, projection, and denial. Boys and men are taught that masculinity means an absurd omnipotence, mastery, comfort, and prowess. They fail—how could they not?—to live up to that ideal. Many cannot tolerate their own vulnerability, which is coded as weakness, so they project vulnerability onto others, usually women; having disowned and disavowed it, they then try to destroy the woman who has come to represent (or embody) that vulnerability, through harassment, abuse, assault, rape, bullying, blows. The state colludes with this psychological and social project in policies that limit reproductive freedom, cruelly degrade asylum-seekers, and refuse trans people self-determination, to name only a few examples.

Harassment and sexual abuse are not, therefore, “the unadulterated expression of male power and authority”; quite the opposite. Violence against women has a frantic quality; it is something that one can only resort to; it protests too much. Which is not to say that it doesn’t hurt to be hit. Fraudulent authority is often deadly.

Those who have read Rose’s previous books will be somewhat familiar with the contours of this analysis. On Violence and On Violence Against Women takes up a subject she has not covered before—the dynamic that has lately been termed “toxic masculinity”—but it does so according to a conceptual approach she has been refining for decades.

July 20, 2021 in Books, Masculinities, Theory, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Feminist Rethinking of Applying Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress to Nonconsenual Sex Videotaping

Lisa Pruitt, Commentary on Boyles v. Kerr (Texas 1993) for Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Torts Opinions,  
Commentary on Cristina Carmody Tilley's Rewritten Opinion in Boyles v. Kerr (Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Torts Opinions, Cambridge University Press 2020, Forthcoming)

This paper comments on Professor Cristina Tilley's rewritten feminist opinion in Boyes v Kerr (Texas 1993). The Texas Supreme Court in Boyles v. Kerr rigidly refused to extend the state’s negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) precedents to permit recovery when the plaintiff was a young woman (Susan Kerr) whose emotional distress was the consequence of her lover (Dan Boyles, Jr.,), in collaboration with three friends, surreptitiously videotaping the pair having sex and then sharing the video with his fraternity brothers at the University of Texas. But the feminist rewrite of Professor Tilley (writing as Justice Tilly) makes clear that the salient doctrines were and are more than capacious enough to have permitted Kerr’s NIED recovery. In fact, the myriad opinions in Boyles, as well as their extensive discussion of NIED’s history and precedents, reveal a highly malleable claim, the evolution of which reveals clearly gendered themes and trends.

July 20, 2021 in Media, Technology, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Using Vulnerability Theory to Address Family and Elder Caregiving and the State's Resistance to Support

Jessica Dixon Weaver, The Perfect Storm: Coronavirus and The Elder Catch,
96 Tul. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2021)

The global COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already growing phenomenon: the Elder Catch. This term defines the caregiving dilemma faced by adults who are simultaneously working, caring for elder parents or relatives, and in some cases, raising children at the same time. Few scholars have explored how the state uses the traditional family framework to resist providing comprehensive government support for elder care. Women typically bear the brunt of caregiving costs within the family and become physically and mentally vulnerable in the process. COVID-19 has pushed women caught in the Elder Catch to the brink while sheltering at home, and has illuminated the disparities between genders regarding the high level of expectation society places on the availability of unpaid family caregiving. Coronavirus has also highlighted racial inequities for African American and Latino families, where female caregivers are more likely to be essential workers forced to work outside the home, and therefore more likely to contract and spread the virus within their family and surrounding communities. This article uses vulnerability theory to address the caregiving void that American women are facing. By introducing a new term, resistant assets, within the taxonomy of vulnerability theory, this article introduces a diagnostic tool for scholars and policy makers to analyze why it is so difficult to change state and market dependence on unpaid family caregiving and challenge government opposition to expanding social support of the family. Resistant assets are frameworks used by the state to reinforce the status quo and maintain a posture of legal and social non-intervention. The normative and extended family are resistant assets that prevent a revision of the American Social Contract. This article fills a gap in family law scholarship by exploring how analysis of resistant assets within vulnerability theory can contribute to the development of a theoretical foundation for legal change to support family caregivers.

July 20, 2021 in Family, Race, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 12, 2021

Gender Bias in Empirical Textualism and the Corpus Linguistics Interpretive Technique

Matthew Jennejohn, Samuel Nelson, D. Carolina Nunez, Hidden Bias in Empirical Textualism, 109 Georgetown L.J. 767 (2021)   

A new interpretive technique called “corpus linguistics” has exploded in use over the past five years from state supreme courts and federal courts of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. Corpus linguistics involves searching a large database, or corpus, of text to identify patterns in the way in which a certain term is used in context. Proponents of the method argue that it is a more “empirical” approach than referencing dictionaries to determine a word’s public meaning, which is a touchstone in originalist approaches to legal interpretation.

This Article identifies an important concern about the use of corpus linguistics in legal interpretation that courts and scholarship have overlooked: bias. Using new machine learning techniques that analyze bias in text, this Article provides empirical evidence that the thousands of documents in the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA), the leading corpus currently used in judicial opinions, reflect gender bias. Courts and scholars have not considered that the COHA is sexist, raising the possibility that corpus linguistics methods could serve as a vehicle for infecting judicial opinions with longstanding prejudices in U.S. society.

In addition to raising this important new problem, this Article charts a course for dealing with it. It explains how hidden biases can be made transparent and introduces steps for “debiasing” corpora used in legal interpretation. More broadly, it shows how the methods introduced here can be used to study biases in all areas of the law, raising the prospect of a revolution in our understanding of how discriminatory biases affect legal decisionmaking.

July 12, 2021 in Courts, Gender, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Role of Contract Theory and Doctrine in Feminist Legal Theory

Martha Ertman, Contract's Influence on Feminism and Vice Versa, Handbook of Feminism and Law in the U.S. (Debora Burke, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams eds., forthcoming)

This book chapter for an Oxford Handbook on U.S. Feminist Legal Theory describes the role of contract theory and doctrine in feminist legal theory. After a brief discussion of its roots in political theory re: the social contract, sets out examples of feminist theory that portray contract as a route to gender equality, others that signal dangers of contract colluding with gender subordination, and finally an intermediate approach that views contract as a private law laboratory of sorts to try out new forms of relation that eventually can mature to public law rules that recognize gender equality. It concludes by identifying ways that feminist legal theorists have injected feminist insights into traditional contract law via doctrines such as good faith in employment contracts, debtor rights in lending relationships, and defenses such as unconscionability and duress. Throughout, this chapter focuses on topics that have generated the most feminist legal attention, which often relate to families.

June 15, 2021 in Family, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 4, 2021

Feminist Pedagogy in Legal Education

Jamie Abrams, Feminist Pedagogy in Legal Education, Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States, Oxford University Press, 2021 Forthcoming

This chapter, which will appear in the Oxford Handbook of Feminism and Law in the United States (Deborah Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna Williams, eds.), traces and evaluates the influences of feminism in legal education. It explores how feminist critiques challenged the substance of legal rules, the methods of law teaching, and the culture of legal education. Following decades of advocacy, feminist pedagogical reforms have generated new fields, new courses, new laws, new leaders, and new feminist spaces. This chapter captures many reasons to celebrate the accomplishments of our feminist pioneers and champions. It also serves as a critical call to action to modern faculty, administrators, and students to carry the work forward with a vigilant purpose and determination.

June 4, 2021 in Education, Law schools, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender as a Central Feature of Illiberal Rhetoric and Action

Susanna Mancini & Nausica Palazzo, The Body of the Nation: Illiberalism and Gender, Routledge Handbook of Illiberalism (S. Holmes, A.Sajo, R. Uitz eds., forthcoming, 2021)

Gender has become a central feature of illiberal rhetoric and action. While socio-legal scholarship has established a clear relationship between anti-genderism and populist parties and/or the global right, the link between anti-genderism and illiberalism has not yet been clearly established. The aim of this chapter is to fill this gap.

The chapter first explicates the link between anti-genderism and global right/right-wing populism (two phenomena strictly related to contemporary illiberalism). It then establishes a more specific link between anti-genderism and illiberalism, by focusing on illiberal actors’ war on “gender ideology”, and their efforts to reshape human rights epistemology. The analysis corroborates these links by looking at three domains: immigration, religious attire, and sexual and reproductive rights.

June 4, 2021 in International, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Law and Economics Against Feminism

Martha McCluskey, Law and Economics Against Feminism, accepted for OXFORD HANDBOOK ON FEMINISM AND LAW IN THE U.S., Deborah L. Brake, Martha Chamallas, and Verna L. Williams, eds.

This chapter analyzes feminism in legal theory in relation to the rise of “law and economics” during the late twentieth century. Building on other accounts, I trace how non-academic organizations invested heavily in developing and institutionalizing law and economics as a seemingly neutral methodology that could build academic credibility for anti-egalitarian ideology and legal change. Further, the chapter explains how the substance of this law and economics fundamentally undermines feminism in law by constructing the economy as a sphere best insulated from contested morality and politics. The central law and economics division between seemingly objective economic maximizing and subjective social distribution puts feminist law in a double bind, naturalizing a gendered baseline that generally makes feminist reforms appear costly, unfair, or ineffective. This core conceptual move closes off feminist legal efforts to question and redefine what counts as productive, legitimate economic gain.

Finally, I explore how this core division of law and economics constructs an idea of liberty that makes feminist efforts to remedy gender-based harms appear illegitimate and oppressive. Law and economics identifies freedom with an economy imagined to remove individual self-interested choices from public support or accountability. That ideal of freedom closes off analysis of how law’s gendered assumptions and unequal protections pervasively limit individual agency and meaningful choice in the economy and in society. Law and economics cuts against legal feminism not because gender justice is a non-economic goal, but because law and economics promotes a misleading economic ideology steeped in gender and tilted toward those most willing and able to disregard and discount others’ well-being.

June 3, 2021 in Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 28, 2021

Using Feminist Pedagogy to Rethink a Seminal Corporate Law Case on Duty of Care

Faith Stevelman, "Feminism, Pedagogy and Francis v. United Jersey Bank" 

Corporate law pedagogy is at an inflection point where topics, such as equality and inclusion, can no longer be ignored. For four decades, Francis v. United Jersey Bank has been a seminal case in the introductory business law course, while professors have largely ignored its sexist assumptions and misuse of liberal feminist tropes. Taught as an exemplary introduction to the duty of care, or duty of oversight, the case is actually infirm on the law and also the facts, as a reading of the citations and historical inquiry from accounts of the firm's bankruptcy in the press reveals. The case's real lesson is about what we do and do not discuss and do with texts in the casebooks, and conversations in the business law classroom, since Lillian Pritchard (the defendant), has been used as the "poster child" of fiduciary laziness and incompetence—sending a terrible message about women in corporate governance.

May 28, 2021 in Business, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Feminist Legal Theory Sessions at Law & Society Meeting this Week

This week at the Law & Society Association annual meeting (by Zoom), the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network will offer 26 sessions from May 26 to May 30.

Here is a listing and description of the FLT Program.

Download FLT-CRN events at LSA 2021

For more information about the rest of the Law & Society program, see Law & Society Conference 2021

May 25, 2021 in Conferences, Scholarship, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Equality and Family Autonomy: Disputing the Functional Approach to Family Law

Katharine Baker, Equality and Family Autonomy, Forthcoming Univ. of Pa. J of Con. Law

Contemporary family law scholarship and a growing body of doctrine often assume that a functional approach to family law – treating those who have acted like family as family – is the best way to secure equal treatment for people who live in relationships that have not been recognized legally as familial. This article argues that these functional claims, made in the name of equality, inevitably disrupt the very protection they are asking for because they undermine principles of family privacy and autonomy. In unpacking the benefits of a robust family autonomy doctrine – benefits that are crucially important to communities of color and LGBTQ communities - this article challenges not only the functional turn in family law, but feminist scholarship that has been critical of family autonomy and privacy doctrine. Building on the consistent defense of privacy that emanates from women scholars of color, this article demonstrates how functional analyses demand interference and judgement that is likely to tear at the fabric of minority communities. Functional approaches vest judges with the power to define who a family is and what it should look like. This article shows how when judges do this in the parental area, they reify dyadic, heteronormative, usually white middle class notions of parenthood. When they do it in the context of cohabitation, they reify gender roles and a morality that assumes the ubiquity of long-term conjugal relationships. Thus, the functional turn, hailed as progressive, actually re-inscribes traditional understandings of family relationships.

May 6, 2021 in Family, Gender, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 12, 2021

Corporate Governance and the Feminization of Capital

Sarah Haan, Corporate Governance and the Feminization of Capital 

Between 1900 and 1956, women increased from a small proportion of public company stockholders in the U.S. to the majority. In fact, by the 1929 stock market crash, women stockholders outnumbered men at some of America’s largest and most influential public companies, including AT&T, General Electric, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. This Article makes an original contribution to corporate law, business history, women’s history, socio-economics, and the study of capitalism by synthesizing information from a range of historical sources to reveal a forgotten and overlooked narrative of history, the feminization of capital—the transformation of American public company stockholders from majority-male to majority-female in the first half of the twentieth century, before the rise of institutional investing obscured the gender politics of corporate control.

Corporate law scholarship has never before acknowledged that the early decades of the twentieth century, a transformational era in corporate law and theory, coincided with a major change in the gender of the stockholder class. Scholars have not considered the possibility that the sex of common stockholders, which was being tracked internally at companies, disclosed in annual reports, and publicly reported in the financial press, might have influenced business leaders’ views about corporate organization and governance. This Article considers the implications of this history for some of the most important ideas in corporate law theory, including the “separation of ownership and control,” shareholder “passivity,” stakeholderism, and board representation. It argues that early-twentieth-century gender politics helped shape foundational ideas of corporate governance theory, especially ideas concerning the role of shareholders. Outlining a research agenda where history intersects with corporate law’s most vital present-day problems, the Article lays out the evidence and invites the corporate law discipline to begin a conversation about gender, power, and the evolution of corporate law.

April 12, 2021 in Business, Legal History, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Challenging the Logic of Pro-Life Constitutionalism in June Medical

Reva Siegel, Why Restrict Abortion? Expanding the Frame on June Medical, 2020 SUP . CT. REV. (forthcoming 2021)

As the Supreme Court prepares to roll back protections for the abortion right, this Article analyzes the logic of pro-life constitutionalism in June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo.

I expand the frame on the admitting privileges law in June Medical to examine the logic of woman-protective health-justified restrictions on abortion. Do these laws protect women or the unborn—and how? By considering the history of the admitting privileges law at issue in June Medical and locating it in broader policy context, we can see how Louisiana legislators who restricted abortion to protect women’s health equated women’s health with motherhood; they supported laws that pushed women into motherhood while declining to enact laws that provided for the health of pregnant women and the children they might bear. Expanding the frame on Louisiana’s pro-woman pro-life law shows us sex-role stereotyping in action, and demonstrates the intersectional injuries it can inflict.

From this vantage point, we can see that judges who refuse to scrutinize pro-life law making—on the grounds that it would involve judges in politics—help legitimate the claims about protecting women’s health that supposedly justify the abortion restrictions, while revising the meaning of the Constitution’s liberty and equality guarantees. Reading the doctrinal debate in June Medical in this context identifies open and hidden efforts to roll back protections for the abortion right—and suggests how the Supreme Court that President Donald Trump helped fashion values women, health, life, truth, and democracy.

April 12, 2021 in Abortion, Reproductive Rights, SCOTUS, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Using Masculinities Theory for Change in Feminism and Law

Ann McGinley, Masculinities Theory as Impetus for Change in Feminism and Law, THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF FEMINISM AND LAW IN THE UNITED STATES (Deborah L. Brake, Martha Chamallas & Verna L. Williams, eds.).

Feminist legal scholars have found much in the field of masculinities to enrich the feminist analysis of law. In drawing on and incorporating masculinities theories into legal feminism, feminist scholars have added their own insight into the meaning of “masculinities.” As Nancy Dowd, Nancy Levit, and Ann McGinley explain: “Masculinities” has multiple meanings. First, it is a structure that gives men as a group power over women as a group. Second it is a set of practices, designed to maintain group power, that are considered “masculine.” Third, it is the engagement in or “doing” of these masculine practices by men or women. Finally, the term refers to a body of theory and scholarship by gender experts in various fields of social science.

Although masculinities originated in fields outside of law, legal scholars have adopted insights raised by masculinities scholars, combined with those of feminist theory, queer theory, and critical race theory, to develop a legal theory of masculinities that proposes new legal interpretations and policies that better correspond to the lived experiences of persons of different genders, races, and classes. This chapter explores how masculinities research has influenced legal feminism in the U.S.

April 12, 2021 in Books, Masculinities, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The 19th Amendment's Antisubordination Theory as a Tool for Defeating LGBT Religious Exemptions

Kyle Velte, The Nineteenth Amendment as a Generative Tool for Defeating LGBT Religious Exemptions, Minnesota L. Rev. (forthcoming)

In the summer of 1920, women gained the right to be free from discrimination in voting when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified. One hundred years later, in the summer of 2020, LGBT people gained the right to be free from discrimination in the workplace when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that sexual orientation and gender identity (“SOGI”) discrimination is sex discrimination under Title VII. Yet, LGBT people continue to face discrimination in many contexts, a prominent example of which is the national campaign by Christian business owners to obtain religious exemptions from state public accommodation laws. What does women’s suffrage have to do with today’s religious exemption debates? This Article contends that there is a through-line from a radical, antisubordination strand of the history of the Nineteenth Amendment to today’s fight over religious exemptions from SOGI antidiscrimination laws.

The antisubordination strand of Nineteenth Amendment history envisioned women’s suffrage as about more than just the right to cast a ballot. This capacious view of the Nineteenth Amendment—as a means of dismantling sex-based hierarchies and ensuring full citizenship rights regardless of sex—would allow women to engage in all aspects of life, both political and civic. Between the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and today’s battles over SOGI religious exemptions stands 100 years of sex discrimination law. That era saw state legislatures enact public accommodation laws prohibiting sex discrimination in the public square; these laws extended to women the right of civic engagement and thus full citizenship. This body of sex discrimination law included the Court’s 1984 decision in Roberts v. United States Jaycees, which involved a challenge to one such law. The Jaycees Court upheld a public accommodation law against a claim that enforcement of the law—which would compel the Jaycees organization to admit women as full members—would violate the Jaycees’ First Amendment free speech rights. The Court reasoned that states have a compelling interest in eradicating sex discrimination in public. Jaycees expands the reach of the equality-enhancing aspect of the suffrage movement. It embodies the antisubordination strand of the women’s suffrage movement and stiches it into the fabric of the legal doctrine governing sex discrimination.

In today’s religious exemption cases, the Christian business owners argue that although the state has a compelling interest in eradicating race discrimination in the public square, it does not have a compelling interest in eradicating SOGI discrimination. This distinction, they argue, dictates that an exemption be granted vis-à-vis SOGI discrimination, even though such an exemption would be rejected vis-à-vis race discrimination. Bostock is the contemporary bridge that connects Jaycees to the SOGI religious exemption cases. Jaycees, in turn is the bridge back to the radical strand of the Nineteenth Amendment’s history: The Nineteenth Amendment was generative not simply of the right to vote, but of a commitment to full citizenship rights regardless of sex. That equality was formalized in state public accommodation laws, which Jaycees teaches serve a compelling state interest. Bostock, when coupled with Jaycees, directs the same conclusion for public accommodation laws that prohibit SOGI discrimination, namely that such laws serve a compelling state interest that defeats claims for religious exemptions.

 

April 1, 2021 in Constitutional, Legal History, LGBT, SCOTUS, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 19, 2021

New Book on the Rise of the Feminist Movement in the 1990s, "They Didn't See Us Coming"

They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties by [Lisa Levenstein]

Lisa Levenstein, They Didn't See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties (2020)

From the declaration of the "Year of the Woman" to the televising of Anita Hill's testimony, from Bitch magazine to SisterSong's demands for reproductive justice: the 90s saw the birth of some of the most lasting aspects of contemporary feminism. Historian Lisa Levenstein tracks this time of intense and international coalition building, one that centered on the growing influence of lesbians, women of color, and activists from the global South. Their work laid the foundation for the feminist energy seen in today's movements, including the 2017 Women's March and #MeToo campaigns.

A revisionist history of the origins of contemporary feminism, They Didn't See Us Coming shows how women on the margins built a movement at the dawn of the Digital Age.

Hat tip Lisa Tetrault

March 19, 2021 in Books, Gender, Legal History, LGBT, Pop Culture, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)