Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the Notorious RGB—has been the voice of dissent and that face on the merch we all need/want right now. And the documentary makes it clear why every American woman should stand up and applaud all that RBG did for us before she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Ginsburg cut her jurisprudential teeth fighting for gender equality and founding the ACLU Women’s Right’s Project while a professor at Rutgers, winning five of the six cases she argued before the Supreme Court. Did you know the military used to not offer a spousal housing allowance if the serving spouse was a woman? Did you know that Social Security Administration used to not pay children a benefit if the deceased parent was the mother? Ginsburg helped to change all that.
When asked her approach, arguing before a nearly all-white male Court who really couldn’t envision what it was like to face unequal protection under the law, Ginsburg says in the film, “I did see myself as a kindergarten teacher in those days.” That is some good shade. Put your backpack in your cubby, Justice Rehnquist. School is in session.
Oftentimes, what women love is derided. Men will say “chicks dig this” when they are trying to put one over on you or when they are trying to make fun of you. We saw it a ton this past weekend, with men shitting all over the Royal Wedding and women daring to enjoy the spectacle…and the hats.
I love a love story, and I’m not going to apologize for being drawn to that aspect of RBG. Ruth and Marty were married for 56 years until he passed away in 2010. Meeting at Cornell and then heading off to Harvard Law together, the Ginsburg’s love affair is a very feminist one, with respect and support from both sides. Ruth, the shy one, cared for Marty, the gregarious one, during a battle with cancer while they were both in law school AND had their daughter, Jane, toddling around. Marty, a successful NYC tax lawyer, supported and followed Ruth when she was appointed to the DC Court of Appeals in 1980.
He was the first boy I ever knew who cared that I had a brain. – Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaking about her husband, Marty
How many women are unable to reach their full potential because they offer support but get none in return? How many women put aside their own ambition because striving isn’t ladylike and they have a partner—or support group—who doesn’t laughs off that notion? Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a true partner in Marty, and he was clearly smitten with her even as she was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 1993. Find a man that looks at you like Marty looks at Ruth. Marty and Ruth sittin’ in a tree…
- Marty was the cook, not because of gender roles being reversed but because Ruth is a terrible cook. Her son, James, says in the film that he is still unable to even look at swordfish “after what Mom did to it.”
- NPR’s Nina Totenberg is featured in the film, and her matte red lipstick is amazing. MAC’s Russian Red?
- During her confirmation hearing, Ginsburg was unapologetic in her support for abortion and reproductive rights. There was nothing mealy-mouthed about it, not mumbling about established law and trying to avoid saying out loud that a woman has—and needs—the right to control her own body.
- Ginsburg had a true friendship with Antonin Scalia, that many found baffling. Her former ACLU Women’s Right’s Project colleague Brenda Feigan is me, crediting Ginsburg’s ability to compartmentalize but admitting she herself could never be close friends with a right-winger.
- You have not lived until you watch the actual RBG watch and giggle at Kate McKinnon’s RBG on “Saturday Night Live.”
- Ginsburg has different collars for her robes, depending on whether she is announcing majority opinions, hearing arguments, or issuing a dissent. I hate that I know names like Michael Cohen, Ben Shapiro, Tomi Lahern, and Jordan Peterson, and considering we have an impotent Republican Congress, I expect nothing to change in holding the corrupt, the abusers, or the gun lobby accountable. But RBG made me feel a little less hopeless and reminded me that there is power in dissent. And in a dissenting collar.