This Article coins the term "self sidelining" as an experience emanating from two theories: impostor phenomenon and gender sidelining. The impostor phenomenon is a well-established psychological construct that describes the inability of some high-achieving women and men to internalize success. Gender sidelining, recently popularized in legal scholarship, describes the undermining of women's achievements, as compared to men, that are unactionable as legal discrimination. In view of these theories, this Article contends that when internal fraudulent feelings (imposter phenomenon) are perceived to be externally validated by male gender preference (gender sidelining), women consciously or subconsciously discipline themselves to forgo their professional advancement. This false endorsement of inadequacy leads women to self sideline. Despite significant advances in legal theories and protections for traditionally diverse and underrepresented groups, there are still notable areas where the law is absent to balance injustices and compel inclusivity. Ultimately, this Article exposes the social harm of self sidelining, even absent adequate legal remedies, and urges its awareness and presence in the ongoing gender inequity discussion in the legal profession.
39 Women's Rights Law Reporter 173 (2018)