Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Award/Publication Date



Professor Tracy Higgins

Committee Members

Professor Ethan Leib; Professor Clare Huntington


The relationship between the law and masculinity has not been as thoroughly examined as the relationship between the law and feminism or, more generally, between the law and gender. Yet, the reach of masculinity stretches deep into the very fiber of the law. Masculinity has for too long served as an invisible bedrock on which the law founded both its substance and method. The struggle for formal equality during the last half century sought the elimination of the masculinist bias, but only has exposed the extent of the entrenchment. The popular idea is that the law exists in a removed and exalted position where it sits in judgement of a pre-existing and fully formed masculinity. The principal argument in this paper, however, is that the law serves as a “technology of sex” that actively produces fixed gender identities and reifies sexual difference. Indeed, much of the internal coherence of the law is premised on the integrity of the subject and the propagation of sexual difference. Thus, the law is precluded from acknowledging or engaging with its own productive power and vacuously characterizes itself as a neutral arbiter. To advance this critique, the paper analyzes underlying arguments that support the power of law based in classic liberal political theory. It employs recurrent critiques of the law, and of liberalism more generally, found in Feminist Legal Theory, Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, and Critical Legal Studies to reveal the law as always already intertwined with masculinity.


Names of supervisor and committee members provided by author via email.

In addition to the dissertation, the author prepared two (attached) articles with the following titles: "Directions for the Study of Masculinity: Beyond Toxicity, Experience, and Alienation"; and "The Difference Dilemma in Masculinity Studies: the Creation of Gender Categories in Antidiscrimination Law".