Monday, June 22, 2009

Thoughts from a (Future) Feminist Law Student

As a feminist who is starting law school in the fall (58 days, to be exact) I've been doing some research into the activist scene for law students. A few days ago I stumbled across this gem about the stereotypical Feminist Law Student. Unfortunately its attempts at humor fall short (resorting to a Hillary joke - really?), but it does bring up several interesting points.

The post begins by saying that 99% of women "find beauty and celebrity more intriguing than inequality and empowerment", and all other women (that leaves, I think, 1%) are "so motivated to create a gender-neutral (in some cases) or gender-preferred (in others) society that they have gone to school to become the Feminist Law Student". Although I'm sure these percentages are statistically sound and the research into women's interests is impeccably thorough, I do wonder exactly where he's gotten the idea that feminists want gender-neutral or gender-preferred society. As a soon-to-be Feminist Law Student, I can say with some authority that our real goal is gender equality - not neutrality and certainly not preference.

Unfortunately, though, equality is far from a reality for women today. Even within the law school environment, women and men have different experiences. Take, for example, my future school. The most recent edition of GW's Law Review did not contain a single piece written by a woman. Out of 112 full time faculty, only 40 are women.

Fortunately, its not all bad for GW and women's rights. Among the first women in the world to earn a J.D. Belva Lockwood graduated from GW Law (then the National Law School) in 1873 - exactly 50 years before the first woman graduated from the law school of my alma mater. Also, GW Law has a strong feminist organization on campus committed to fighting for equality.

So maybe there's something to the idea of the Feminist Law Student. I applied to law school with the hopes of fighting for women's equality across the country. I specifically wanted to be in D.C. so that I could see firsthand how policies affecting women are passed and upheld as law. Maybe these reasons make me fit the Feminist Law Student, but with all the work to be done, someone has to stand up and accept that label proudly. And in 58 days, I plan to do just that.


Laur said...

Awesome, Bonnie! I'm pre-law right now and will have to get some serious tips from you. :) GW will be so amazing!

Laura said...

And you will do it!

Jessica said...

Bonnie, I cannot wait to have a feminist lawyer friend! Great Post!

Megan said...

hey sister go sister! great post!!:)