• Contents

    • Introduction

    • Dis-Covering Our Cover

      Werner, Ursula (2015-10-13)
      Justitia-our icon of justice. She sits or stands above courthouses or in courtrooms, supposedly overseeing and inspiring choices between right and wrong. And we trust in her competence-until we are confronted with a body of law such as sex discrimination law, in which so much seems unjust. Thus, we approach her. Is she really what she seems?
    • A Reproductive Rights Agenda for the 1990's

      Kolbert, Kathryn (2015-10-13)
      With the Supreme Court currently reconsidering Roe v. Wade, and the renewed activism that has resulted, it is an opportune time for the prochoice movement to articulate our vision of the future and to grapple with the many hard questions that surround sexuality, childbearing, and parenting. True reproductive freedom, which must be our ultimate goal, includes much more than the legal right to choose abortion. It includes the right to decide whether, when, with whom, and under what conditions women will have children, and envisions a world in which women will have both the economic means and the social conditions to effectuate whatever moral choices they make. Only with the freedom to control their fertility, are women free to participate fully and equally in our society: to learn and to grow, to better themselves, to establish a home and family, to follow their dreams or to express themselves and contribute as mothers, workers, artists, scientists, or in whatever roles they may choose.
    • Reconceiving Autonomy: Sources, Thoughts and Possibilities

      Nedelsky, Jennifer (2015-10-13)
      Feminism requires a new conception of autonomy. The prevailing conception stands at the core of liberal theory and carries with it the individualism characteristic of liberalism. Such a conception cannot meet the aspirations of feminist theory and is inconsistent with its methodology. The basic value of autonomy is, however, central to feminism. Feminist theory must retain the value, while rejecting its liberal incarnation.
    • The ACLU: Bait and Switch

      Dworkin, Andrea (2015-10-13)
      We asked Andrea Dworkin's permission to publish this piece after hearing her present it at an informal reading. Although Dworkin wrote the piece in 1981, she explained that, like many of her essays, it has never been published in the United States. It was published in England in the spring of 1988 in a collection of essays entitled Letters from a War Zone. If all goes well, Letters from a War Zone will be published in the United States next fall and Pornography: Men Possessing Women, which has been out of print for years, will be republished. The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism is pleased to publish The ACLU: Bait and Switch for the first time in the United States. We include the short preface Dworkin wrote to the piece for Letters from a War Zone.
    • A Break in the Silence: Including Women's Issues in a Torts Course

      Finley, Lucinda (2015-10-13)
      I teach torts, a mainstay of the first year law curriculum. Judging from the way most casebooks present this subject, one would think that notions about gender roles and gender stereotypes are irrelevant to the past development or current understanding of tort law. Economic theory, on the other hand, is presented as obviously relevant to the subject. So what possible insights could feminist theory offer to tort law? After all, the torts course is not just about women. But neither is feminist theory. I also teach a course which is commonly misunderstood as marginal: a course on feminist theory and the law. Yet I am struck by the extent to which this course grapples with all the fundamental issues of human experience: birth, death, love, hate, marriage, divorce, caring, violence, employment, unemployment, economic security, poverty, power, and powerlessness. Far from being marginal, feminist theory is concerned with the entire realm of law.
    • The New French Abortion Pill: The Moral Property of Women

      Ricks, Sarah (2015-10-13)
      In September 1988 a pharmaceutical firm announced it would begin marketing a pill in France designed to induce abortion in the very early stages of pregnancy. Several weeks later, the company retracted its original announcement. Motivated by vocal anti-abortion activism in France and the United States, which included threats of a boycott of all of the company's products as well as threats on the lives of company officials, the drug company decided to withhold the pill, known as RU 486, from the French market. However, within days of the French company's retraction, the French government-which owns thirty-six percent of the French subsidiary of the German-based company, Hoechst, that markets the pill-ordered the company to sell it in France. The French Health Minister declared that in the few weeks that the abortion pill's existence had become common knowledge, it had become "the moral property of women."'
    • Love, Rage and Legal Theory

      West, Robin (2015-10-13)
      Love and rage, I believe, motivate feminist work in law, both in advocacy and in the academy. Love and rage not only move us to action, but they also inform a feminist sense of justice and of morality. This emotional root alone of feminist work in law renders it threatening and alien to mainstream legal discourse. As a consequence, mainstream legal discourse constitutes a tremendously powerful censor of feminist feeling, as well as substantive feminist views on law. The very presence, not to mention the dominance, of mainstream legal discourse and the disciplines it fosters oppress as they "discipline" the feelings that motivate and to some degree even define feminist legal practice and theory.
    • Pornography and the Traffic in Women: Brief on Behalf of Trudee Able-Peterson, et al., Amici Curiae in Support of Defendant and Intervenor-Defendants, Village Books v. City of Bellingham

      Baldwin, Margaret (2015-10-13)
      Some nights ago, while I was struggling with how to introduce this piece, I decided that the only reasonable course was to reread John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. There they all were, Tom and Ma Joad, Preacher Casy, Rose of Sharon, Uncle John, Ruthie and Winfield, the bank agents, the truck, Route 66, California. The little story, the story in the story, is about what they learn from each other, what becomes of this sharecropper family evicted from their land in Oklahoma, battered by wind, poverty and exploitation. Then there is the story surrounding the story, the historical story of the Depression Dust Bowl, of labor resistance, of human suffering and death. That larger story is both roots and atmosphere of the novel, elevating the story of the small Joad family into an act of political exegesis. Then there are the stories but half-told in the novel, the stories of the characters not placed on center stage like Tom and Ma Joad, but who move in and out of the story only as they have meaning for Tom or Ma. If The Grapes of Wrath were Rose's story, or Winfield's, we would know them all differently.
    • Contents

    • Agency and Partnership: A Study of Breach of Promise Plaintiffs

      Coombs, Mary (2015-10-15)
      Miss Hanson was a servant at a boarding house when she met Mr. Johnson in 1895. After a few months' acquaintance, they became engaged and began to sleep together. She vainly waited thirteen years for him to marry her, meanwhile bearing his child. Finally she sued and recovered $8000. Miss Hanson was not the first to respond to seduction and abandonment with a lawsuit. Miss Giese, another plaintiff, persuaded the jury in the Ripon municipal court that the defendant, Mr. Schultz, with the aid of a promise to marry her, "and his persuasions thereunder, seduced, debauched and carnally knew the plaintiff, and got her with child."2 The pregnancy miscarried, the defendant refused to keep his promise, and Miss Giese sued. The Wisconsin Supreme Court twice reversed verdicts in her favor, holding that the jury could compensate her for the loss of virtue and reputation and for mental suffering caused by seduction, but not for the miscarriage and its physical effects.
    • The Power of Motherhood: Black and White Activist Women Redefine the "Political"

      Boris, Eileen (2015-10-15)
      In the early twentieth century United States, women of African descent constructed a political voice that refused to be bounded by the separation of public from private, of work from home. Just as African-American women lived lives that knew no such false divisions, so those active in national and local women's organizations drew upon their strength as mothers to argue for a legal equality that recognized their difference as black and female from the dominant white society. They offered an interpretation of political life that emphasized the role of women as saviors of the race, justifying their activity because they were mothers. Indeed, they connected women's rights, unlike men's, to the experience of motherhood.
    • Femocrats, Official Feminism, and the Uses of Power: A Case Study of EEO Implementation in New South Wales, Australia

      Eisenstein, Hester (2015-10-15)
      The theme of women and power is one that has been a constant element in American feminist theory since the resurgence of the women's movement in the 1960's. In this paper I hope to contribute to this ongoing discussion, using as my primary source material my own experience in Australia from 1980 to 1988, in the world of what the Australians term the "femocrats." I see this paper as part of a larger enterprise, being carried out internationally, to assess the impact of a wide variety of feminist interventions. Since the 1960's, feminists have been part of a number of activities seeking to realize feminist goals, using whatever structures and resources they could find at hand.
    • Transforming the Grounds: Autonomy and Reproductive Freedom

      Ridder, Stephanie; Woll, Lisa (2015-10-15)
      On July 3, 1989, a plurality of the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services which, while not overturning Roe v. Wade, shook the foundations of women's constitutional rights of liberty and equality. Three Justices indicated that they believed the trimester system set forth in Roe should be abandoned, while another Justice said that he would explicitly overrule Roe. Webster thus becomes the most recent and most dangerous attack on reproductive rights for women since Roe was decided in 1973. In this paper, we will examine how legal theories of privacy and equal protection have been applied to cases involving women's reproductive freedom. We will assess some of the past and current assaults on women's reproductive freedom. The conclusion will suggest that interpretations of privacy and equal protection have not been adequate to safeguard women's control over their bodies and that an autonomy analysis would achieve better protection of women's reproductive freedom.
    • Towards a Feminist Perspective on Welfare Reform

      Brenner, Johana (2015-10-15)
      Provisions for the poor have always been a contentious political issue in the U.S. For good reason. Welfare policy engages conflicting economic interests, clashing worldviews, competing social needs. Critical analyses of social welfare practice have centered on the ways that policies function to regulate the labor market and to preserve social order and discipline. In this approach, conflicts and interests structured by class and race take center stage. Recently, feminist scholars have argued that social welfare policy also reflects structures of gender inequality. This paper engages the theoretical debate by examining the latest "welfare reform" initiative, the Family Support Act of 1988.'But this paper also has a practical political purpose: to offer a strategy toward welfare policy that promotes women's independence as individuals and supports them as mothers.
    • Social Feminism and Legal Discourse: 1908-1923

      Lipschultz, Sybil (2015-10-15)
      There is a "male standard" in law, Florence Kelley proclaimed through the early 1920's. Kelley, the executive secretary of the National Consumers' League, believed existing legal rules and rhetoric represented only men's interests. If women were subject to these male rules, she reasoned, this equal treatment would yield unequal results. Kelley wanted equality for women, but she was firmly committed to an equality based on women's differences from men, rather than an equality grounded on gender neutrality. She tried to introduce to American law a female standard, one that created new legal rhetoric, concentrating on women's distinct experiences. This equality-through-difference approach was summed up by the phrase "industrial equality," which women who agreed with Kelley used to explain their approach to law and social change.
    • The Real ACLU

      Gale, Mary; Strossen, Nadine (2015-10-15)
      Andrea Dworkin's polemic against the American Civil Liberties Union is appropriately entitled "Bait and Switch." While ostensibly attacking the ACLU as anti-feminist and inimical to the rights and needs of women and other disadvantaged groups, Dworkin in fact seeks to discredit an organization that doesn't exist. The real ACLU is and has been for many years something quite different from the white-male-dominated monolith she first imagines and then condemns, primarily for its alleged monomaniacal devotion to disembodied principles in callous disregard of real harms to real people. The real ACLU-the one with which the authors of this essay have been associated for more than fifteen years-was infiltrated and transformed by women, feminists, and feminist ideas, long ago. The real ACLU celebrates and defends the importance of first amendment values, especially unfettered speech, but it also proclaims, nurtures, and struggles to secure for women and historically disempowered minorities the fourteenth amendment's enduring promises of equality and nondiscrimination.
    • Stories of Women in Self-Defense

      Phelps, Teresa (2015-10-15)
      Book Review
    • Contents