Equal Protection and the Male Gaze: Another Approach to State of New Hampshire v. Lilley
26 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2019 Last revised: 21 Apr 2021
Date Written: October 3, 2019
This Article uses New Hampshire v. Lilley, a case recently decided by the New Hampshire Supreme Court, as a starting point for an equal protection analysis of indecent exposure laws that distinguish between women and men. After discussing contemporary equal protection jurisprudence and historicizing these laws, this Article uses the film theorist Laura Mulvey’s concept of the “male gaze” to demonstrate how overbroad generalizations about sex and sexuality serve as the foundation for this legal distinction. This Article concludes by emphasizing that municipalities and states may continue to enact and enforce indecent exposure laws that reflect community standards, so long as they apply equally to women and men.
Keywords: indecent exposure, equal protection, male gaze, feminist jurisprudence
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