Tag Archives: feminism

New-ish in Print: Reading Deborah L. Rhode's "The Beauty Bias" made my worry lines 16% deeper* ($28.45 CAD)

*The worry line thing could be atypical.  Possibly resulted from my concern that random passers-by my office would not realise that I was engaged in serious WORK, and might think that I was just reading something vaguely disreputable for fun (see cover art).

Over the summer I read Stanford Professor Deborah Rhode’s The Beauty Bias.   A great read, which moves across the popular non fiction/scholarly legal work divide with some ease.   She gathers loads of research into the “meaning” of beauty and the way that beauty products are marketed to bolster her critiques and suggestions for law reform (including a prohibition on false and misleading advertising).  The book deserves a proper review, but happily both the New York Times (again, the book is aimed at a broad readership) and one of the best “legal” reporters around, Dahlia Lithwick of Slate, have already done it. Click here for Lithwick’s review (and if you don’t already read Ms. Lithwick regularly, you should. Her writing is excellent and her coverage of the hearings of the US Supreme Court might be the single best law-thing on the web).

The book ought to promote serious self reflection (how do I discriminate on the basis of appearance?) , as well as some serious thinking about whether law is the best method for preventing the social harm Rhode documents in great and persuasive detail.  On the latter,  I’m not quite sure – and I’m not quite sure I like the analogizing between say, race and attractiveness which goes on in all the discussion of this book.  I’m wary of analogy in “kinds” of discrimination, for all kinds of reasons that I can’t do justice to here.

In sum:  I can’t say it’s changed my actions at the drugstore, but it has put an academic edge on my outrage when I’m horribly and directly insulted by ads and “articles” on skin care in various magazines I read but am ashamed to name.  If you don’t care for academic edge, here’s a video for you –  just some snarky feminist humour: 

Related read:

Robert Post, et al ‘Prejudicial Appearances: The Logic of American Antidiscrimination Law’    http://www.amazon.ca/Prejudicial-Appearances-PB-Robert-Post/dp/0822327139


New in Print: Women, Law, and Equality: A Discussion Guide

The editors are well known Canadian scholars (former LEAF litigator Prof. Carissima Mathen and new Dalhousie Dean Kim Brooks).  The other contributors are the soon to be at Ottawa U Suzanne Bouclin and Carleton U’s Doris Buss.

Equally interesting is the intended audience for the book: “ideal for a survey or introductory-level gender studies, women in the law, or women-focused political science course. It could also be used for a series of book club-style discussions,” according to Irwin Law’s promotional blurb.  Book club, anyone?

Women, Law, and Equality: A Discussion Guide (clickable link takes you to the Irwin Law site to order).

Kim Brooks and Carissima Mathen, eds.

[from the Irwin law site]

  • …designed to stimulate and facilitate discussions around the complicated issues of feminism, equality, and social justice among broad spectrum of readers, with varied perspectives and knowledge.
  • Each chapter provides excerpted and compiled texts and discussion questions intended to stimulate discussion.
  • The range of topics covered in the guide make it ideal for a survey or introductory-level gender studies, women in the law, or women-focused political science course. It could also be used for a series of book club-style discussions.

Summary Table of Contents


Let’s Talk Women, Law, and Equality


Chapter 1: Polygamy

Kim Brooks

Chapter 2: Caring for Young Children

Kim Brooks

Chapter 3: Feminism, Law, Cinema

Suzanne Bouclin

Chapter 4: Women and Power (or, Powerful Women)

Carissima Mathen

Chapter 5: Women and Migration

Doris Buss

Chapter 6:  Final Thoughts