Law Fairy's feminist rant of the month
I think it's been long enough since my last good whine that I can go ahead -- especially for such big news.
Apparently Article 3 Groupie (A3G) isn't the starry-eyed gossip gal of the judiciary she has long claimed to be. Rather, "she" is 30-year-old David Lat, an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. HT: Evan Schaeffer.
I can't say I was ever an A3G "fan," but I did read the blog on occasion. I didn't like the tone at all -- the drooling adoration of the federal judiciary made me nauseous. In the interests of fairness and full disclosure, I'm big enough to admit it's partly a case of sour grapes (the goddamn feds didn't give me a single interview -- which, with my school, my grades, my resume and the range of applications I sent out, in addition to my rigid adherence to the advice of my school's clerkship guru, was utterly inexplicable, objectively speaking). But it also fits with my general anti-elitist ideology -- one that's gotten stronger as I've observed how ridiculous and arbitrary are many of the criteria on which elites base their decisions.
On top of my general distaste for federal drooling, there was something else about the blog that always bugged me. It was just so... damn... GIRLY. Not to be accused by anti-feminist types of being anti-feminine, I don't have a problem per se with blogs being girly, or even with being girly with respect to legal matters. Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movies. I think it's fantastic for women to be who they want and express themselves how they want in any occupation, including law. But Underneath Their Robes wasn't an intelligent legal blog in pink with sidelines about the author's pet chihuahua. It was a gossip rag masquerading as legal insight. I get that this makes it all the more intriguing for law students, who hunger after every detail of the coveted clerks' lives. But let's be clear about this: it was childish. Childish is all well and good, and childish and girly is fine too -- it's just not my cup of tea.
But now we come to find that the "woman" behind all this is in fact a man. Why did Mr. Lat feel he needed to hide behind a feminine mask? Perhaps he thought immature gossip was not the domain of proper men -- but as a woman, he could get away with it. Women, after all, have nothing better to do with their time (unless it's popping out the kiddies or fixing dinner, that is). I'm exaggerating, of course, and I don't want to be unfair to Mr. Lat. He may not have given the gender of his author much thought at all. It certainly makes sense to choose a female author for a blog like his; men don't "dish." As a woman, his blog would be more believable and more popular. But as a woman, his blog was all the more fake. Whether or not they mean to, men like Mr. Lat and the infamous Libertarian Girl reinforce stereotypes of women. The pink background, the giggly attitude, the anti-feminist positions on key women's issues: this is how these men want to see women. This is not how women see themselves. If I pretended to be black and organized my website in a certain charicatured manner and spoke out against affirmative action, and then it was revealed that I was caucasion, people would rush to cry "racist!" -- and rightly so. So where is the outrage over these men's actions? Why, instead, are they celebrated and interviewed by The New Yorker?
I really hope I'm not the only one asking these questions.