The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism is committed to publishing scholarship on gender, sexuality, and the law, especially insofar as the law structures, affects, or ignores the experiences of women and other marginalized peoples. We encourage the submission of articles, essays, and reviews concerning these intersections of law and feminism. As we promote feminist principles to our readers, we also practice those principles ourselves. All members contribute to our Journal's management, making major decisions through modified consensus.
The Story of the Law and Feminism Logo
The logo, created by Jacqueline Coy Charlesworth in three variations depicting women of different ethnicities, was chosen to illustrate the front cover of the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. The following explanation of its significance is taken from "Dis-covering Our Cover," by Ursula Werner '91, the first piece in the inaugural issue of YJLF (1 Yale J. L. & Feminism 1 (1989)):
Justicia--our icon of justice. She sits or stands above courthouses or in courtrooms, supposedly overseeing and inspiring choices between right and wrong. And we trust in her competence--until we are confronted with a body of law such as sex discrimination law, in which so much seems unjust. Thus, we approach her. Is she really what she seems?
At first glance, we are reassured--Justice is, after all, a woman. She must understand us. . . . If Justice is a woman, surely this fact should argue for women's inclusion in the sphere of law.
But, as we again look at our icon, a troubling reality confronts us: Justice is not simply a woman, she is a blindfolded woman. Why this blindfold? The standard assumption among legal scholars is that Justice herself tied it. But if we accept this explanation, we must wonder why Justice chooses to separate and distance herself. Does she not consider the circumstances of a dispute relevant to its resolution? . . . . Perhaps Justice is not a feminist.
Or perhaps Justice did not choose to be blindfolded. In such a case--where Justice was blindfolded by someone else--our suspicion that Justice has been "similarly situated" appears verified. Blindfolded, Justice cannot see that she is a woman; not realizing that she is different from other women, she is deprived of all the advantages and disadvantages such recognition would bring.
It may be true, as many have observed, that the blindfold ensures Justice's impartiality towards those with more power and influence than she. But at the same time, the blindfold ensures Justice's impartiality towards those with less power than she, those who are, in some sense, disadvantaged. Unable to see whatever systemic disadvantages this latter group faces, unable to see her own membership in such a group and thereby possibly understand the nature of their plight, Justice can make her decisions based only on a limited set of facts before her. . . .
We may hope that Justice, though blindfolded, realizes her gender through non-visual means. From a feminist standpoint, the blindfold may even have served some positive purpose, in heightening Justice's other senses, allowing her to "see" what may not always be visible. But the time has come to fully restore Justice to all her senses. It is time Justice employed all her powers in overseeing the law. It is time she cast off her blindfold.