Reasonable women in the law

Standards of reasonableness are pervasive in law. Whether a belief or conduct is reasonable is determined by reference to what a ?reasonable man? similarly situated would have believed or done in similar circumstances. Feminists rightly objected that the ?reasonable man? standard was gender?biased and worked to the detriment of women. Merely replacing the ?reasonable man? with the ?reasonable person? would not be sufficient, furthermore, to right this historic wrong. Rather, in a wide range of cases, feminist theorists and legal practitioners urged instead a standard of reasonableness that reflects the perceptions of women, a perspective informed by women?s vulnerability and oppression. In this essay I examine the role of the ?reasonable woman? standard in two areas of law ? workplace sexual harassment and self?defense ? and argue that it is both legally and politically problematic
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DOI 10.1080/13698230802021306
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Michael Otsuka (1994). Killing the Innocent in Self-Defense. Philosophy and Public Affairs 23 (1):74–94.

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