45 Wake Forest L. Rev. 749 (2010)
Dancing around Gender: Lessons from Arthur Murray on Gender and Contracts

handle is hein.journals/wflr45 and id is 755 raw text is: DANCING AROUND GENDER: LESSONS FROM
Debora L. Threedy *
Context in contracts always matters.' In a sense, contract law
is profoundly contextual because it depends on the parties'
particularized agreement rather than some more generalized terms
found in a statute or regulation. Take any contract case and to some
extent the court will have to look at context. Does an advertisement
constitute an offer?    It depends.    Pepsi's television commercial
appearing to offer a Harrier jet for a million Pepsi Points is not an
offer2 because of the tongue-in-cheek context, but a misleading car
advertisement in a newspaper can be.' The more precise issue is
which contexts should matter in contract law.
The call for attention to context is often a call to pay attention
to unequal distribution of power.4 From the perspective of an
* Professor of Law, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah.
This research has been supported by grants from the S.J. Quinney College of
Law Summer Research Fund. My thanks to my colleagues who commented on
the work at a faculty presentation, especially Leslie Francis, Erika George,
Teneille Brown, Bill Lockhart, Bob Adler, Bob Flores, Cliff Rosky, Rita Reusch,
and Wayne McCormack. I also wish to thank Martha Ertman and Darren Bush
for reading and commenting on drafts of the Article, and finally I wish to thank
librarian Meredith McNett for her assistance in locating court records for fifty-
year-old cases.
1. At least, context matters in modern contract law. See Danielle Kie
Hart, Contract Formation and the Entrenchment of Power, 41 LOY. U. CHI. L.J.
175, 192 (2009) (discussing the shift from formal rules of classical contract to
standards, like reliance, that required courts to derive facts and meaning from
the surrounding circumstances); Betty Mensch, Freedom of Contract as
Ideology, 33 STAN. L. REV. 753, 769 (1981) (reviewing P.S. ATIYAH, THE RISE
AND FALL OF FREEDOM OF CONTRACT (1979)) (contrasting the abstract
formalism of classical contract with the close attention to commercial detail
required by thorough-going realism).
2. Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc., 88 F. Supp. 2d 116, 118-19, 132 (S.D.N.Y.
1999), aff'd, 210 F.3d 88 (2d Cir. 2000).
3. See Izadi v. Machado (Gus) Ford, Inc., 550 So. 2d 1135, 1138-39 (Fla.
Dist. Ct. App. 1989).
4. See Martha Minow & Elizabeth V. Spelman, In Context, 63 S. CAL. L.
REV. 1597, 1632-33 (1990). The attention to particularity ... is not an


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