On the Basis of Sex Shows Women’s Rights Struggle


Provided by https://socialnewsdaily.com/82408/everything-on-the-basis-of-sex-gets-wrong-about-ruth-bader-ginsburg/

On the Basis of Sex shares a few stories from Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s youth.

Charlotte Varnes, Online Editor

One can easily argue that Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) is the most prominent, influential advocate of women’s rights in our times. Well-known in today’s pop culture due to her fashionable “dissent” collars and workout routine, RBG is way more than a figurehead; she is very much a part of the rise of wide-spread gender equality in the United States ever since the 1960s. Just this year, two movies, RBG and On the Basis of Sex, were released about Ginsburg.

While RBG is a biopic, On the Basis of Sex seeks to portray a few of the most poignant moments in RBG’s life, including the sexism she faced while at Harvard Law School and the challenges she faced before (spoiler alert) ultimately winning Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, a case discriminating against unwed men as caregivers, which had a huge impact on gender equality in the United States.

At the beginning of the film, young, tiny Ginsburg, played by Felicity Jones, is shown walking to orientation at Harvard Law School, surrounded by seemingly hundreds of men as the song “10,000 Men of Harvard” plays. This impactful opening scene ultimately sets the tone for the whole film and the portrayal of hardships RBG faced, essentially all of which stemmed from the belief that her womanhood made her a weaker attorney. Whether being asked “Why are you at Harvard Law School, taking the place of the man?” or being rejected from numerous law firms due to her gender, the film truly emphasizes that pretty much all of Ginsburg’s challenges were literally “manmade”.

Although much of the movie is based on RBG’s career, it also shows a caring, emotional side to her, whether in taking her husband Marty’s law classes as he fought cancer or dealing with her headstrong, politically-minded teenage daughter, Jane. Felicity Jones handles this duality perfectly; even RBG has complimented the actress on her portrayal. The relationship between Marty, played by Armie Hammer, and Ruth is endearing and absolutely believable, although cheesy “romantic” scenes at the beginning certainly took away from the serious tone of the film.

Perhaps the best part of the film is the writing. The characters are truly three-dimensional, and each one, from advocates of Ginsburg to her foes, advance the plot and add further to all of the background given about Ginsburg’s career. One favorite is Dorothy Kenyon, a famous attorney portrayed by Kathy Bates, who initially shuts down Ginsburg’s enthusiasm for the Moritz case. Although Kenyon was a hero of RBG’s and a comment like this might have stung especially from her, Ginsburg takes it in stride and ultimately wins Kenyon’s support. Just the few moments Bates and Jones share on screen are completely believable and show RBG’s tenacity and determination to succeed.

Although only taking on a few scenes of RBG’s life, this ultimately gives the film plenty of time to expand upon the hardships Ginsburg faced in her early career and shed light upon the challenges that influenced her later fights for women’s rights and political ideology. Before seeing this film, I had no idea that RBG had such a role in furthering gender equality in the United States. After, I am so thankful for all she has accomplished towards expanding opportunities for women in our nation. This film is truly a must-see for all, but for young girls and women especially due to the portrayal of all the challenges women went through only 60 years ago when attempting to forge a career and the actions RBG took to combat this.

Between the stellar, believable acting and the impactful story, I would give On the Basis of Sex a 10/10. It is well worth seeing; it truly shows that today’s Americans are so blessed to live in a society with near gender-equality, and this culture did not come easily.