Leah Jackson dean leah jackson baylor.jpgOnly a few hours remain for voting in our Law School Dean Hotties contests. Click here to vote on the women, click here to vote on the men, and click here to vote on the male alternates.
One of the female candidates, Associate Dean Leah Jackson of Baylor Law School, has commented on the contest. When contacted by the Baylor school newspaper, the Baylor Lariat, she offered these thoughts:

“I was truly shocked to show up on such a list,” Jackson said via e-mail Tuesday.

Jackson noted that the contest was “a cute little piece,” but said she would “enjoy it more if the comments focused on how bright, accomplished and respected each of the women on the page are.”

Similar sentiments have been voiced by some commenters over at Feministing (a blog name that, truth be told, makes us uncomfortable every time we read it).
We take issue with these comments. Obviously a number of reader testimonials focused on the looks of the nominees — because this is, after all, a beauty contest. But many other comments focused on other attributes. Here are just a few examples:

“[Leah Jackson] teaches Tax: Federal Income Taxation, Corporate Taxation, and Partnership Taxation. And what’s more sexy than tax law?”

“How could any contest for hot law school deans NOT include Elena Kagan, Dean of Harvard Law School? Any woman who can climb to the top of an institution as stodgy and male-dominated as HLS is a hottie per se.”

“[Elena Kagan is] (1) among the Elect (clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Marshall), (2) former Associate Counsel to President Clinton, and (3) a one-time nominee to the D.C. Circuit — which, as we all know, is the sexiest court in the country (even more sexy than the SCOTUS). How can you say no to all that?”

“Not only is Dean Toni Massaro brilliant, attractive, and self-assured, she’s also a cancer survivor AND a lesbian. It’s easy to make Advanced Con Law sexy, but how many Deans could get 3rd year students out of bed every morning for an 8 am class and have a packed classroom?”

“One couldn’t ask for a better dean than Toni Massaro. In addition to her fantastic fundraising, she brought Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to be the Distinguished Jurist in Residence here. She also convinced Iranian Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi to come aboard as a Distinguished Visiting Faculty in Human Rights.”

“[Maureen O'Rourke's] fiery exterior is complemented by her brilliant intellect. She graduated at the top of her college class and with Honors in all her classes at Yale Law School. Dean O’Rourke has it all.”

“I write to nominate Asha Rangappa in your beautiful law school dean contest. First, she’s a genius: Princeton, Yale Law, a Fulbright, a First Circuit clerk. Second, she’s totally badass: from 2002 to 2005, she worked in the FBI as a Special Agent, focusing on counterintelligence investigations in New York City. How cool is that?”

“Dean Mary Jo Wiggins is hot inside and out. By far, she is one of my favorite people at USD Law. She is beautiful, elegant, and carries herself with dignity and class. She is brilliant and accomplished (see here and here), yet she’s never condescending or arrogant (unlike certain other professors).”

If these comments are sexist, then call us sexist.*
It seems to us that feminists in the 21st century — as opposed to, say, the 1970′s — should not object to being praised for their brains AND their beauty. Being recognized for one’s accomplishments AND attractiveness are not mutually exclusive.
To be a feminist in good standing, you don’t need to look like the late Andrea Dworkin. There is nothing wrong with looking like, say, Gloria Steinem. And feminists who happen to look more like Steinem than Dworkin shouldn’t have to apologize or feel guilty for doing so.
* Did a certain number of Fark readers have sexist comments to offer, both on Fark and ATL? Sure. But what do you expect from a bunch of acne-ridden adolescents who spend all day playing video games in their parents’ basements?
Assistant Dean More Than Pretty Face [Baylor Lariat]
Female Law School Dean ‘Hotties’ Contest [Feministing]
Take the Bait? Or Not? [Feminist Law Professors]


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