Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

1998

Center/Program

Center for Gender & Sexuality Law

Abstract

"What kind of feminist would be accused of sexual harassment?" asks Jane Gallop (p. 1). Gallop quickly provides her own challenging answer: "the sort of feminist ... that ... do[es] not respect the line between the intellectual and the sexual" (p. 12). Gallop is firm and unrepentant about not respecting this line: "I sexualize the atmosphere in which I work. When sexual harassment is defined as the introduction of sex into professional relations, it becomes quite possible to be both a feminist and a sexual harasser" (p. 11). Figuring out what this means – and what its implications are for professors, for feminists, for law schools – is the task I've set for this review. I begin with a warning. As Margot Channing suggested some forty years ago, "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night."

The atmosphere that Gallop sexualizes is the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where Gallop, "one of the ornaments of the poststructuralist school," is a Distinguished Professor. Her best known books, Thinking Through the Body and The Daughter's Seduction, offer close readings of Sade, Freud, Lacan, Cixous, and Irigaray at the intersection of feminism and psychoanalysis. Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment seems an altogether different kind of project. It offers a close reading of one woman, Jane Gallop herself, as the subject of sexual harassment complaints brought by two graduate students after she kissed one of them in public. Feminist Accused – and Acquitted, although this outcome doesn't make its way to the title – is Gallop's effort to tell her story so that, as she puts it, everyone can "understand what's going on with sexual harassment."

Comments

Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment by Jane Gallop, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, Public Planet Books, 1997, pp. 101, $9.95.

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