On the Underrepresentation of Women In Elite Law Reviews

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Thank you for noticing that women are grossly underrepresented among authors who publish in elite law reviews. You simply checked out the tables of contents. What accounts for the shortfall? I’m amazed by the pretzel-like knots that people : liberals, men, women, you name it : turn themselves into when you ask.

There’s the newcomer theory: women have arrived only recently in large numbers. Didn’t that one expire around 1987? A bigger favorite is women have an unfortunate affinity for marginal subjects. As if certain fields are forever trivial, always have been, and women unwisely chose to wreck their careers by going there — rather than the much more likely inverse explanation, which doesn’t rest on a hypothesis that women are their own enemies: Fields with a lot of women lack prestige because there aren’t enough men there.

I also hear that women aren’t a heavy presence in the editors’ favorite subjects. Anyone who finds that explanation satisfactory must be assuming that women aren’t discriminated against when they try to play in particular sandboxes. But I think they are. The fellows who dominate constitutional law, property theory, philosophy of law, and various business fields, for example, have refused to tolerate many women who had a lot to offer and tried to participate.

And if you’re female, you never have standing to mind. If you happen to do well at the placement game, you’re arrogant (for implying that you’d do EVEN BETTER in a world without discrimination, and for not being grateful for your good fortune). If you don’t do well there, you’re a sore loser, crying sexism to rationalize your own failure. Smile, ladies!

–(Anonymous Feminist Law Prof with awesome publication record)

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