In the past few years, the feminist movement has arguably been thrust into the public eye — most clearly seen with the #MeToo movement and the waves that have rippled from it.
While fashion trends have changed since the 1970s when Ruth Bader Ginsburg first took to the courtroom, the demand for equal rights has persisted.
The biographical drama, “On the Basis of Sex,” illuminates Ginsburg’s first case tackling gender discrimination. It leaves behind the cliches of superficial “girl power,” instead showcasing a constant, formidable force felt throughout Ginsburg’s life which drives her passion.
From small misogynistic comments the male figures in her life offhandedly make to facing blatant discrimination in the workplace, Ginsburg’s wit and humor are the forces which kept me from wanting to bash my head in nearly any time a male figure spoke.
In the movie, Ginsburg’s entire class at Harvard Law School had exactly nine women. When meeting the dean for the first time, a moment supposedly to celebrate their achievement of attending the Ivy League school, the women are instead questioned why they deemed themselves worthy of occupying a space that could have been for a man.
These remarks and statistics only served to fuel RBG’s fire. Ginsburg’s actions at Harvard were nothing short of super-human.
The film manages to capture these acts in a very authentic way, personifying a nearly other-worldly figure while simultaneously exploring her relationship with her husband and children.
Overall, however, the movie sparked outrage.
Outrage for Ginsburg having to face these trials and tribulations, as no woman ever should have in the first place. It highlights the embedded sexism in society women just a few decades ago had little power to stand up to.
And outrage at the realization that throughout Ginsburg’s tenure and ferocity as a lawyer fighting for these rights, women today still face many of the same problems; yet society deems it appropriate to turn a blind eye, deny or even enable.
The tides have been changing in today’s society, and now Ginsburg has become a female icon for young women everywhere.
A change in the tide conceptualized form a small drop that came in the form of RBG’s tax case — a tax case with massive repercussions and meaning for nearly 51 percent of the population of the United States whose precedent allowed for the progress made towards gender equality.
The force and importance of the film comes from the parallels it draws to today’s society. It awakens those who see it to the importance of gender equality and forcibly makes one realize how far society has to go while appreciating how far it has come.
When Ginsburg took this first case, arguing a tax law unconstitutional on the basis of sex, there were 178 laws which discriminated against women due to gender.
Today, largely thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, those laws cease to exist.
“On The Basis of Sex” is a must-see for those who want to understand the importance of gender, both legally and socially, and for any woman who wants to be inspired.