Lifestyle

On the Basis of Sex

Yesterday I went to see the new Ruth Bader Ginsberg movie with my grandmother and I was so inspired to write a post immediately! In case you didn’t know the third annual Women’s March is today! Unfortunately I have to go to work later so I will not be taking to the streets of Boston or Northampton, but sending a huge shout out to all those ladies celebrating ladies out there today!

One thing this movie made me think is, “We’ve come a long way.” Ginsberg was one of nine women in her class of 500 at Harvard Law School. When the women went to the Dean’s house for dinner, they were asked to share their name and the reason they took a spot away from a man to be at Harvard. Not only did Ginsberg take her law school course, she balanced that with taking care of a child, a husband with cancer, and she went to all of Marty’s (her husband) classes to make sure he didn’t fall behind. Yet when Marty graduated he had no problem finding a job, while Ruth could not be hired as a woman anywhere. She was told, “oh we already have a woman working here” and was asked questions like “when are you having another child?”

This movie also made me think, “We have a long way to go.” Some things never change, when Ruth was practicing for her very first case, her superior told her to smile more, she was coming across as cold-hearted. But this is nothing new. Hillary Clinton was criticized for never smiling when she was on the campaign trail, and once she started smiling? People said she smiled too much. Then the judges on Dancing With The Stars had comments about Simone Biles facial expressions and how they didn’t see it as authentic. To which she replied, Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.” Why is it when men are stone-faced it’s powerful but when a woman does it they are stone cold?

So how can you make a difference?

  • First, learn about your implicit biases! Harvard has developed a series tests called the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and you can take as many as you want to learn what biases you have! In honor of today I recommend taking the gender and science/liberal arts test.
  • Then, stay informed! Read your news app! Everyone has it on their iPhone, stay up to date on topics that are important to you. But make sure you’re getting your news from multiple places as some outlets tend to lean one way or another,
  • Lastly, stand up! In the movie Jane Ginsberg says, “It’s not a movement if everyone’s sitting down. It’s a support group.” We watched the film Sicko in one of my classes and while this quote is about healthcare, I believe it could apply to much more, “The French government is afraid of the people, but the American people are afraid of the government.” In Sicko we see that the French people will protest anything they see as unfair, so what are we waiting for!

I hope you get the chance to see On the Basis of Sex, if you liked watching Elle Woods push her way through Harvard Law, you’re going to love this movie. I loved it way more than I love Legally Blonde, because it based on a true story and a strong woman.

Happy weekend!

Marissa

Advertisements