On the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times, Justin Wolfers reminded readers (here) of economist George Stigler‘s suggestion that during presentations of a scholarly work, audience members would increase academic efficiency by shouting out a number that corresponded to their comment or objection, instead of wasting everyone’s time with the usual professorial puffery and wind-up to audience comments and questions. In The Conference Handbook in the Journal of Political Economy (1977), Stigler assigned numbers to the most common objections, i.e., (1) “Adam Smith said that;” (2) “there is an identification problem which is not dealt with adequately in the paper;” (3) “the model is incorrect.” And so on.
Feminist Law Professors like efficiency, too, so here’s a working list of Comments You Are Most Likely To Hear From Feminist Law Professors, a tongue-in-cheek twist on Stigler’s guidance for economists. The list is a work-in-progress. Anyone giving a job talk or paper at a school known to have feminist law professors on the faculty (and check the blog roll — we don’t have a secret handshake) might want to consider these:
1. There are no women in your study/paper/analysis.
2. There are women in your study/paper/analysis, but women’s authentic voices have been silenced.
3. Your recommendation, if implemented, would disparately impact women.
4. Although your study/paper/analysis takes women into account, you assume that “women” is a monolithic category.
5. Although your study/paper/analysis takes _________ [insert adjective] women into account, you assume that all _________ [insert same adjective] are the same.
6. Your perspective is constrained by your position as a/an __________ [insert adjective] _________ [insert noun] and therefore your arguments/analyses/theories are incomplete or inaccurate.
7. You seem to have ignored the feminist theory of _________ [insert noun], which would change your analysis.
8. You do not cite any female academics in your study.
9. You cite __________ [name of female academic] in your study, but you make her into a cartoon-like figure without engaging seriously with her arguments.
10. You misunderstand __________ [name of female academic]; she never said that.
11. Your understanding of feminist theory is mired in a difference vs. dominance paradigm.
12. Your faith in the state as an agent of justice appears misplaced.
13. [UPDATE:] Why aren’t you calling on any of the women in the audience who have their hands raised?
Addenda and modifications to this list are welcome.