Ricci v. DeStefano: A Masculinities Theory Analysis

44 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2011

See all articles by Ann McGinley

Ann McGinley

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law


This article applies masculinity theory to explore the aspects of Ricci v. DeStefano and its political reverberations. While the black male and all female firefighters were made invisible by the case and the testimony, the fact that Frank Ricci's and Ben Vargas' testimony during Justice Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court confirmation hearings lionized a particularly traditional form of heterosexual masculinity was also invisible. An understanding of the case and its political response requires a historical and contextual approach using a multi-faceted lens that considers not only race, but also class, gender, and politics. This article offers suggestions to public employers faced with decisions regarding how to proceed after Ricci. It argues that municipalities should consider the lessons learned from history and masculinity theory in establishing its methods of evaluating candidates for firefighting and supervisory positions in the future.

Keywords: masculinity theory, Ricci v. DeStefano, Sotomayor, firefighter, Title VII, race discrimination

Suggested Citation

McGinley, Ann, Ricci v. DeStefano: A Masculinities Theory Analysis. Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 33, No. 2, p. 581, 2010, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1919149

Ann McGinley (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

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Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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