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Feminism v. Blogging in Drag

David Lat made a name for himself by pretending to be a woman and writing about topics such as "superhotties of the federal judiciary." Now that he has fessed up to his gender, he has turned his attention to more urgent topics, to wit: finding the hottest ERISA lawyer in America. Funny stuff, huh?

Well, Ann Bartow doesn't think so. An associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and contributor to Feminist Law Professors, she says Lat's kind of satire often isn't funny:

"Possibly Lat doesn’t understand that being celebrated for her looks is not known for being a ticket to career success in the legal world for a female attorney."

For women bloggers, Bartow's post points to an even-broader issue, suggests "Epistolary Geek" at Law and Letters. For her, Lat, together with the former "libertarian girl," represents a phenomenon -- the "male blogger in stiletto drag" -- that degrades the image of legitimate women bloggers. She writes:

"All of this blogging-in-drag is bewildering and appalling. I just don't understand the prurient interest some have in watching an otherwise impressively credentialed or politically opinionated 'woman' degrade 'herself' by trivializing her politics or profession. Is this the appeal of watching Ann Coulter in her mini-shorts?

"Speaking as a female blogger, who writes a 'blawggish' blog at that, I am personally offended. I think these poseurs, cheeky and satiric as they intend to be, bring down the image of serious female bloggers everywhere."

These two posts make for a double-Lat slam, but Ann Althouse questions whether they are fair. Noting that when Lat was pretending to be Article III groupie, he considered the "hotness" of males along with females, she writes:

"[W]hat really irks me is going on and on about Lat without showing familiarity with his judicial hotties contest, the way Article III groupie specially focused on the hotness of males, and how Judge Kozinski offered himself up as the hottest judge."

Althouse quotes The New Yorker piece, which observed that Article III groupie was "keen on the new Chief Justice" and considered Justice Alito's 19-year-old son "a hottie." She continues:

"This refocus of the hotness question onto males was a much better strategy for smashing sex stereotypes than insisting on being taken seriously and trying to deny the visual aspect of life."

As for Lat's contest, it continues, with male nominees outweighing females.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 5, 2006 at 03:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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