Writing About Gender…


So I really dug into the archives to find this femail—five years old, from another femail writer and during law school! I saved it after all these years because it shows a) how important encouragement is, particularly with writing and especially from fellow female colleagues and b) as I finish up the publication process for my work at Oxford, it’s always good to look back at the first time and see how far you have come—what was once so hard is not as intimidating as it once was. My writing has never been easily accepted as it tends to push boundaries (especially the sort that legal journals tend to publish), but the story behind this piece is especially remarkable.

No one wanted to publish on the ‘feminization of displacement’—the paper this femail refers to—back in 2012. However, in 2017 after others began to notice this pattern in the numbers also, this very same paper that I struggled to have published (even at my alma mater’s law journal) has be cited over dozens of articles and downloaded several hundred times (#sorrynotsorry). In others words, never let the naysayers get you down and thank goodness I had a friend like Courtney to push and encourage me along the way!

From: Courtney Marie Skiles <xxx@uw.edu>
To: Johanna Gusman <xxx@uw.edu>
Date: Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 1:22am
Subject: Writing about Gender
Just wanted to send you this note—

Firstly, your comment is excellent and deserves a voice in our journal (or somewhere—but hopefully you choose the journal), which ultimately is —-‘s call, but I love your work. Secondly, this final push is a hard one, especially because just when you feel like you’re done you have a lot more to do, but it is worth it, and you’ll be able to really tease out what your strongest points are and make them prominent. I just read —’s email to you, and I think he offers suggestions from a different perspective (and one your readers/audience will share). But I do disagree—I do think you draw your conclusions appropriately—with a few noted times when I think you just need to draw the line, though your research and points are there. As he said, overall, this is a process, and edits you implement are ultimately up to you.

My suggestion is to have your advisor review this before you decide exactly what edits to implement. I know you’re running against a two week deadline, but when Prof. — reviewed mine I realized there was a lot of last minute research (and i mean LAST minute) that needed to be in there for my point to be taken well/ stronger.

You are truly almost there. Hang in there and come talk to us if you need more time or want to talk through edits instead of staring at a red, marked up page.

xo I’m glad you’re out there writing this stuff!

From: Johanna Gusman
To: Courtney Marie Skiles
Date: Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 5:24am
Re: Writing about Gender

Thanks Courtney. I agree. I’ll talk to Prof. — and she what she thinks. It’s —, she always knows best. It is the last push and it’s overwhelming, but yes, I can do this…



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