A Law of Her Own
The Reasonable Woman as A Measure of ManeBook - 2000
Despite the apparent progress in women's legal status, the law retains a profoundly male bias, and as such contributes to the pervasive violence and injustice against women.
In A Law of Her Own, the authors propose to radically change law's fundamental paradigm by introducing a "reasonable woman standard" for measuring men's behavior. Advocating that courts apply this standard to the conduct of men-and women-in legal settings where women are overwhelmingly the injured parties, the authors seek to eliminate the victimization and objectification of women by dismantling part of the legal structure that supports their subordination.
A woman-based legal standard-focusing on respect for bodily integrity, agency, and autonomy-would help rectify the imbalance in how society and its legal system view sexual and gender-based harassment, rape, stalking, battery, domestic imprisonment, violence, and death.
Examining the bias of the existing "reasonable person" standard through analysis of various court cases and judicial decisions,A Law of Her Own aims to balance the law to incorporate women's values surrounding sex and violence.
Traditionally, in determining culpability for an injury, the law has asked whether the actor behaved like a reasonable man, a standard that was supposed to abstractly represent the values and expectations of the community as a whole. Although recent law has reformulated this to the standard of the "reasonable person," the authors argue that the standard remains deeply rooted in male assumptions and that this is an inappropriate standard to apply to the category of cases in which the majority of victims are women and the majority of perpetrators are men (i.e. sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence, and rape). They call for a "reasonable woman" standard that would be applied to all people in these cases. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)