People often wonder what makes a ‘feminist’ a feminist? Some will say it’s simply, “wanting equal rights.” The question sounds so simple, yet quite the contrary when it comes to the history of the United States. One trailblazer showed us, what being a feminist really is. The same woman that made an impact that measures far long across generations.
Three words. Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg.
More than an icon, RBG spoke with integrity, and taught us how to have discussions with anyone who disagreed. She didn’t use words like “ um” or “ err,” she had a way of speaking, and believed in the highest standards for herself. She spoke from a place of truth to power. Of love. Of justice. She was an Amazonian warrior from Brooklyn.
In her early days of advocating for gender equality and women’s rights, Ginsburg faced gender-based discrimination from the highest officials who reprimanded her for taking a man’s spot at Harvard Law.
The 60s saw Ginsburg’s exceptional academic record challenged as it was not enough to protect her from the gender-based discrimination women faced in the workplace. She hid her pregnancy from her Rutgers co-workers, and led the fight against gender discrimination and successfully argued six landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
These experiences caused Ginsburg to take a broad look at gender discrimination, fighting not just for the women left behind, but for the men who were discriminated against as well.
Her arguments were slow but steady, and calculated.
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Just before her passing, Ginsburg worked out with a personal trainer in the Supreme Court’s exercise room, and could lift more than both Justices Breyer and Kagan. And days before her passing, Ginsburg stated to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
This was more than just a request, there’s so much more to this wish than when we hear it. The legacy she leaves behind was this the reason she held on to her soul so tightly. This administration’s aggression has put a vise grip on women and the LGBTQ community. Even while she battled pancreatic cancer like most superheroes, RBG still fought on just to keep us safe.
On September 18, 2020, our heroine said goodbye to the world. How can we learn from RBG, and most importantly how do we use her legacy to move forward?
The best way to pay our respects, and appreciation is to be BRAVE. Lead with strength, solidarity, believe in our voices. Reveal to future generations, what Ruth did for us. How she executed and changed the norm. Defend those who can’t/won’t be heard. When you question your voice, remind yourself of this fearless woman. A warrior in judge’s robes.
Ruth Bader-Ginburg was the very definition of what makes a feminist. It’s why her story makes her the original Wonder Woman.
Jessica Velle is writer from Los Angeles, CA. She focuses on shining a light on culturally diverse stories.