In her review essay Ending Male Privilege: Beyond the Reasonable Woman, Professor Wildman examines A Law of Her Own: The Reasonable Woman as a Measure of Man by Caroline A. Forell and Donna M. Matthews. Forell and Matthews explain the need for a reasonable woman standard, particularly in cases of sexual harassment, stalking, domestic homicide, and rape. Wildman, while agreeing that those areas exemplify areas of law in which the "spectrum of violence and disregard of women is most evident and problematic," urges that litigants seeking equality must go beyond the reasonable woman and articulate the systemic nature of male privilege that perpetuates inequality. Wildman suggests that the reasonable woman standard cannot address the comparison mode embedded in the sameness/difference equality debate or the essentialism problem that troubles feminist legal theorists. Using two case examples, Soto v. Flores and Taylor v. State, Wildman illustrates how the reasonable woman standard does not solve these vexing jurisprudential barriers on the road to equality. Rather, a privilege analysis is needed to expose the poverty of the comparison mode and to avoid the trap of essentialism. Only when privilege is revealed can women be full societal participants, claiming law as their own.
Stephanie M. Wildman,
Ending Male Privilege: Beyond the Reasonable Woman
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.scu.edu/facpubs/621