Feminist Law Professors
posted by Elizabeth Nowicki
I have long been a fan of the blog “Feministlawprofessors.com.” The blog does a stellar job of raising and discussing various issues, the content of the blog is sound and reasoned, and Ann Bartow, the founder of the website, has graciously cross-posted some of my posts on prostitution over the past couple years.
Therefore, when Bridget Crawford, another of the main posters on feministlawprofessors.com, asked if I wanted to be named on their list of “self-identified feminist law professors,” I was thrilled to be asked. The question was raised, however: What does the label “feminist law professor” mean? If I was going to self-identify as a “feminist law professor,” I wanted to be sure I fit within the definition.
The reality is that those who know me well might not immediately fit me within the category of “feminist law professor,” if we consider only the older stereotypes about what a feminist “looks like.” To wit, I have never taught “feminist legal theory” (though I could and would, happily), I am Catholic, I am fairly conservative, I have never been a member of NOW, I have been a member of the Federalist Society, I am not offended by some things that are clearly “gendered” (such as men opening doors for women), and I have never burned a bra.
That said, I support equality for all, and I engage in activities intended to support this goal. Indeed, one of the many things that troubles me about the legal profession is the fact that women make up roughly 50% of all law students but only about 19% of all law firm partners and less than 20% of all Supreme Court justices.
But does supporting equality for all make me a feminist law professor? If so, wouldn’t – in theory – most law professors be “feminist law professors?”
I realize that this blog post should be many paragraphs longer, to address the issues raised by my questions above. But even with a blog post five times the length of this one, I doubt I could do the questions justice. So I will end simply by observing that, while I am happy to be labeled a “feminist law professor,” it is interesting to me that the phrase is not easily defined.