The Shapes We Mae


Mindful Media, The Feminist's BookshelfKate WeinerComment

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a badass.

Until I read "Notorious RBG," Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik's eclectic and erudite biography of the Supreme Court Justice, I had no idea how much RBG has done to advance feminism. RBG is a deep believer that women's liberation is deeply intertwined with men's liberation; we're not fighting for women's rights, we're fighting for human rights. Throughout her lengthy career, she's been a voice for equality and a proponent of civil justice. And she's done so with a rare mix of open-mindedness, thoughtfulness, and dry humor.

"Notorious RBG" is the kind of coffee table book you can return to again and again for short doses of inspiration. As young feminists, it is important to find all different kinds of role models to help us figure out what it is we want to do with our "one wild and precious life" as poet Mary Oliver writes. I'm neither interested in going into law nor do I share the same kind of discipline as Ruth Bader Ginsberg (you have to read about how she worked her way through law school while married with a small child. Incredible).

In spite of this, I've been surprised and humbled to realize just how much there is to glean from RBG. Learning her life story has taught me the value of sometimes "being a little deaf" in order to focus on the bigger picture. Her friendship with conservative Scalia is a powerful reminder to see people as people and not as stereotypes. And her loving, decades-long marriage to Marty is proof that a true partnership is when both parties accommodate, accept, and empower each other.