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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Feminist Icon, Collector of Crochet

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When I first began to hear promotions for a new documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, RBG, I was intrigued. Familiar with her as an important public figure and life-long advocate for human rights, I wanted to learn more.  

I must admit that I often look to intelligent and strong women as role models and they may become heroes. In this case, with the knowledge of Ruth’s large collection of jabot/collars and her appreciation of fine lace and crochet collars, she became an instant icon to me.

My Filet Crochet Dedication to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

On May 4, 2018, the film, RBG, about her life and career reached movie theaters on a limited basis; yet it sold well beyond expectations, grossing 3.40 million USD during its short run. In October, the documentary of the same name was released by CNN.

After seeing the documentary, I was very touched and wanted to know more about this amazing woman who is quickly becoming an iconic human known to both women and men as RBG. Her book, My Own Words, published by Simon & Schuster in 2016, was an inspirational read. Follow below to learn what I now know.

·         “RBG engaged in moving the law in the direction of recognizing women’s equal-citizenship stature,    solidifying a constitutional principle against gender-based discrimination.
·         March 15, 1933-Joan Ruth Bader born in Brooklyn, NY
·         Spring 1954-graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
·         June 1954-RBG married Marty Ginsburg, a tax lawyer and professor at Harvard School of Law. Ruth & Marty had two children: Jane Ginsburg, a professor of literary and artistic property law at Columba Law School; and James S. Ginsburg, a producer of classical recordings.
·         Fall 1956-Entered Harvard Law School as 1 of 9 women in a class of 500! Women at that time were less than 3% of the legal profession in the U. S. Today more than one-third of our federal judges are women, including 3 of the 9 Justices seated on the U.S. Supreme Court bench.
·         1958-59-Attended Columbia Law School and graduated in May, tied for first in class.
·         1959-63-Judicial Clerk, Southern District of New York; then research associate and associate director of Columbia Law School.
·         1963-1972-Professor at Rutgers University School of Law.
·         1972-1980-RBG was a law professor at Columbia University School of Law. Director of and council to ACLU Women’s Rights Project. Co-authors First Supreme Court brief on Reed v. Reed. First Supreme oral argument: Frontier v. Richardson.
·         1980-93-Judge, Us Court of appeals for the D.C. Circuit, appointed by Pres. Jimmy Carter
·         August 10, 1993-Appointed by Bill Clinton, RBG took the oath of the office of Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The hearings of the Senate Judicial Committee lasted less than a week and the nomination of RBG was endorsed unanimously in a vote of 18-0. Her candidacy was sent to the Senate floor where she was confirmed by a vote of 96-3. She joined the first woman justice, Sandra Day O’Connor.
·         June 27, 2010-Beloved husband and ‘life partner,’ Marty Ginsburg dies of cancer.
·         RBG holds honorary degrees from more than 30 universities  
·         Court customs encourage collegiality--something Justice Ginsburg values and promotes constantly --among the Justices.
·         RBG had a fondness for music and especially opera. She had the chance to take to the stage in 3 cameo appearances as a “super” at the Washington National Opera.
·         RBG had a close relationship with fellow Justice, Antonin Scalia. In an interview in 2007, he said ’We are two people who are quite different in our core beliefs, but who respect each other’s character and ability. There is nobody else I spend every New Year’s Eve with.’” Bader Ginsburg. My Own Words. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016.;
·         2015-Carmon, Irin & Knizhnik, Shana: Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; New York: Dey Street Books, 2015
·         October 19, 2018-Notorious RBG: The Life & Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit opens in Los Angeles at the Skirball Cultural Center. The message of the exhibit is “work hard, stay the course, things will be difficult, but that doesn't mean they're hopeless." The Hill, 10/17/18

·        November 8, 2018-RBG fell in her office and broke three ribs. She spent one day in the hospital, and when released, continued to work at home. 

Thankfully, she works out daily with a trainer and her strength of body and mind will carry her through!

"Supreme Court judicial robes don't leave a lot of room for accessorizing, but the most notorious SCOTUS justice doesn't let that stop her from adding flair to her ensembles. 'The standard robe is made for a man because it has a place for the shirt to show, and the tie," RBG said in a 2009 interview with The Washington Post. 'So, Sandra Day O'Connor and I thought it would be appropriate if we included as part of our robe something typical of a woman.' More than simply accessories to a black robe, her collars have become symbols of her unapologetic and strongly feminist legacy." Kavitha George. "What Do Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Collars Mean? Each One Has a Story." Bustle, June 5, 2018. 
"Ginsburg's prolific collection of collars may have started as a way to unapologetically express her femininity and bold sense of style in a field dominated by men. But each one has since taken on a personality and political meaning of its own — and turned RBG into a feminist fashion icon in the process."

"Given to her by her law clerks, this gold embellished jabot makes an appearance every time RBG announces a majority opinion."

"So iconic you can now buy a replica of this collar as a necklace, this is Ginsburg's "dissenting" collar. In a 2014 interview with Katie Couric, she asked why this jabot in particular is her dissent collar, RBG merely replied, It looks fitting for dissent."

RBG Doll by Diana Basma
Do you know that you can receive an RBG crocheted doll for free? Here's how! "If you make a $50 (or greater) donation to an organization that stands up for women, and well really, humans. All humans. So make a donation to a charity that supports voices that you don't feel are being heard." 


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