Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice
The traditionally forbidding visage of law mimics the constructed face of the “God of our Fathers.” The punitive ‘Father God’ and the harsh letter of the law are connected in both their errors and their promises for transformation. Both the ‘Father’ and ‘His Law’ primarily impose their wills through “authority” and “force.”
Jewish feminist theologian Judith Plaskow questions whether the law is a female form. Plaskow contrasts the law’s constrictions and abstraction with traditional femeie characteristics of openness and fluidity. Plaskow hopes to redeem her tradition through a God of relationship and love, affirming both law and a new feminine authority. Perhaps only such a law, with masculine and feminine in correct relation, can save law from falling victim to economic interest that seem more viable than a decrepit legal system. Such a supple law may let women practice law without giving up an essential thread of themselves. It may also free men to acknowledge their feminine sides, and to integrate this other aspect of themselves into their lives as lawyers.
The daughter or female imagines that law is available to all, especially those oppressed by masters. The daughter envisions law beyond the system of domination, law once again sacred, inviting rather than forbidding through spirit—blessed, belonging to us all, holy, whole. It calls for a lawfulness so intense that it dances outside the “law.”
Emily Hartigan, Out-Lawing God the Daughter, 9 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women’s Stud. 227 (2000).