the interplay of jeanne charmant-killman (played by isabelle huppert) as a woman in law in l’ivresse du pouvoir (a comedy of power) is interesting. she is like so many other women in law, both fictional and in the real world. they are highly masculinised and need to be strong, and hard working and tough in order to prove their place.
the masculinity of the law is unquestionable. for centuries it was men who spoke the law: as judge, as counsel, as commentator. arguably they still do. something which is hard to break given that the law perpetuates its own masculinism, in its operation, its culture and its recruitments (for more on women in law, see my post in what it feels like for a boi). in a speech delivered in western australia by justice michael kirby he said of justice gaudron’s, first female high court judge in australia, retirement, “I confess to missing Justice Gaudron. Inevitably, since her retirement, the High Court is a more “blokey” place.”
and in order to be taken seriously in these environments, women in law need to not upset the culture. while she is at work, jeanne is dressed conservatively, usually wearing pants and suit jackets. her demeanour is stern. her desk bears no photos ot trinkets, nothing that ties her emotionally to anything. she is stripped of all but the physicality of her sex.