How Americans talk when they talk about #MeToo is often deeply rooted in the law—even in non-legal settings, participants in the #Me-Too conversation often deploy legal definitions of victims and perpetrators, reference legal standards of proof and the role of legal forums, draw explicit or implicit comparisons to legal punishments, and derive meaning from legal metaphors and legal myths. In this essay, I identify and assess the deployment of such law talk to help understand both how legal rhetoric may facilitate the national #MeToo conversation and related legal reforms, but may also simultaneously limit and obscure some of the #MeToo’s more transformative possibilities. Such critical engagement seeks to open space for selective pushback, including initial thoughts on the possibilities of reclaiming colloquial law talk to better match the interests at stake in non-legal settings as well as bringing to the forefront the therapeutic, informative, and structural issues law talk might crowd out.Download the article from SSRN at the link.
December 2, 2020
Wexler on #MeToo and Law Talk @lesley_wexler
Lesley Wexler, University of Illinois College of Law, is publishing #MeToo and Law Talk in volume 29 of the University of Chicago Law Forum (2019). Here is the abstract.