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November 29, 2005


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Over at the fabulous University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog there is a five-part (so far) discussion of Martha Nussbaum's important paper, "Women’s Bodies: Violence, Security, Capabilities," appeared in the Journal of Human Development (Vol. 6, ... [Read More]


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If I may point out the obvious, this piecemeal posting of an entire article really seems to be an ineffective use of the blogging format. Blogs are spontaneous, they are pointed, and most of all their entries are short. Perhaps this is a well meaning attempt to give the author exposure, but, even if that's the intention, the other virtue of blogging--feedback, debate, and iteration of views--has also been missing from this series. Nussbaum has been MIA from the start.

Ann Bartow

I disagree - I think it's an interesting and useful blog series. There is no single way to blog, or to organize or manage a blog. I admit I would find it helpful to have a link somewhere that allowed the article to be read in its entirety, but I'm glad I got to read it. Most (though certainly not all) of the comments to the various sections are fairly hostile and useless, but that too is part of the blogging experience, especially with an unmoderated approach to comments. Martha Nussbaum appears to be the only women blogging here, so she'll get (and is arguably getting) the full brunt of the misogyny out there in the blogosphere.


So when people criticize male bloggers (or those of indeterminate sex), in harsher terms than this--look at the originalism thread--is that misogyny? The blogosophere is a rough and tumble place. This article has hardly been pilloried. It's not even that disagreeable; what do you say, oppressed women are less capable of contributing to society. It is, however, unusually banal.

Further, going back to my original point, I haven't seen any evidence that Miss Nussbaum is even participating in this blog, other than in these cut and pasted parts of an article that someone is apparently putting online to give her article some exposure.

It all has a rather forced feel, like someone decided this male-dominated blog needed a woman's voice, so let's cut and paste one of her articles, since she won't say anything on her own. I could be mistaken, but this has a whiff of the "blogging affirmative action" meme that Steven Levy of Newsweek started a ways back.

Maybe blogging is more of a guy thing. We are notorious for loving to hear ourselves talk, after all. But, male, female, or otherwise, I think this is all a waste of the medium's virtues and shows a disregard for its natural characteristics.


This blog, as mentioned at its outset, was intended to experiment with the form. Posting shorter articles to invite comment was one of the things we intended to do at the outset. Comment on the format is always welcome, as, of course, is comment on substance.

Professor Nussbaum is not currently responding to comments in this forum, but she is more than happy to respond to any comments she receives via email.

The Law Fairy

I agree with Roach in that I think it would contribute more if Prof. Nussbaum were monitoring the comments and would respond as some of the other professors occasionally do. As to the asserted banality of the argument, I seem to recall a rather lively discussion resulting from the first section of the article. Just because many people agree with Professor Nussbaum, does not make her points any less worth making or hearing.

I absolutely disagree that blogging is a "male" thing just because it's dominated by men. Even if it is true that women are less inclined to speak their minds (which it may or may not be; I don't have any empirical data in front of me in that regard), this does not point to blogging being less appropriate for women. First, blogging can be anonymous or pseudonymous (I myself, an active female blogger, use a pseudonym), which could arguably make it easier for an otherwise reticent person to speak her mind. Also, even if the tired old refrain that "women don't like politics" is true, blogs don't have to be about politics. They can be about anything under the sun. What I find particularly interesting is the recent apparent trend of male bloggers to pretend to be female (from what I can tell, in part at least to exploit female stereotypes) -- from Libertarian Girl to A3G, and as many have theorized, Opinionistas, why aren't actual female bloggers as popular? An obvious but pedestrian responses is that men write more interesting things. A better question, if this is true, is why what men write about, or how men write, is considered more interesting.

Posting an interesting article by Professor Nussbaum doesn't amount to affirmative action. Affirmative action helps individuals by virtue of the wrongs done to a group to which they belong. It's not clear what Professor Nussbaum's interest is in posting her article, or even if she requested it. Even if it was done at her behest, and she was somehow reluctant or "shy" (I struggle not to laugh) to actually blog, it's not clear that this would constitute affirmative action. I think the more likely case is that Professor Nussbaum, as one of the single busiest faculty members at the law school (splitting herself as she does between departments), has chosen to devote her time to other pursuits within the university community.

The point about a dearth of female professors on this blog is, however, an interesting one. Have other professors been asked? I'm sure that Profs Buss, Bernstein, Meares, Frantz and others all have valuable things to contribute and I would love to see them participate in this blog.

Michael Martin

Here here! Let's hear some more from the other women professors at Chicago. I know that Meares posts to at least one other blog occassionally. And Bernstein would find it easier to connect up with members of the International Concatenated Order of the Hoo-Hoo (an unforgettable highlight of the fist-year curriculum at Chicago).

African American

this site is really insightful..makes you want to study law

Alice Rose

Violence against Women in Eastern Europe:

Would you like to know more about how and why a Ph.D. candidate doing field research back in her native country was kidnapped, drugged, gang raped, and was about to be killed by a Roma man who alleged to be "her husband" since her childhood?

Do you have testimonies of violence against women?

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