ArticlesVolume 12, Number 3 (2003)

Moving the Margins


Thank you to the symposium organizers for inviting me to speak. The symposium theme, an exploration o f the justification and need for a feminist law journal, and the panel I participated in focusing on the concept of marginalization, strike me as familiar and somewhat heavily-explored areas of discourse. Surely when the founders of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law (“JGL”) proposed this scholarly endeavor, there were those who questioned the need for such a publication. While those early doubters probably included those who challenged the concept of sex discrimination, as well as the need for remediation, I assume there were those who genuinely wondered what role JGL could play in the development of feminist legal theory and discourse. As such, it is not merely an academic exercise to revisit this question of JGL’s relevance, but rather an important stage of the development of feminist doctrine and feminism itself.

My answer to the question “Why a feminist law journal?” is simply “Why not?” My response is not intended to trivialize or avoid the underlying concerns of our inquiry, but rather to elevate what I consider the critical issue behind the inquiry. In my opinion, to ask “Why a feminist law journal?” is to ask “Why is feminism important? Why is feminism relevant to today’s world? Why does anyone still consider it important to focus closely on the status of women and on gender issues?” Our panel, “Moving the Margins,” similarly leads to several important questions. Due to limited time, I will focus on how a feminist law journal can serve as a “mover” in its own right and as a facilitator of “movers.”