Thursday, June 07, 2007

Here's a thought...

I know there are a lot of awards shows out there and more "Top 100" lists than we could ever hope to ingest. We've got the Oscars, the Grammys, the Pulitzer Prize, the MTV Movie Awards and a few hundred others. I really think we need a new one, though. Just hear me out, people.

I propose that one of the toy companies, say Mattel or someone, gets together with us feminists and nominate someone every year for their own action figure. There could be a whole on-line campaign, we could all vote and at the end the person with the most votes gets a collectible action figure of their likeness manufactured for retail sale. The nominees would have to be people who have taken significant action and worked towards making the world a little bit better for women (and therefore society as a whole). By making a cool toy out of the winning person's likeness, little kids would see that you don't necessarily have to be an X-Man or a Marvel character to be a hero. Also, all the proceeds from the sale of the toy would have to go to a charitable organization that helps women and kids.

If such a campaign existed, and if I could nominate someone this week, it would be Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She rocks and here's why:

She has delivered TWO oral dissents this session regarding the ban on partial birth abortion and the recent shenanigans concerning the 180 day limit for women to sue for workplace discrimination. This is highly unusual for Justice Ginsberg who has usually opted for a more congenial approach to dealing with decisions she disagrees with and has never delivered two oral dissents in one session. Clearly, she's concerned about where this new court is headed. I have to say I agree.

She became the first woman to be on both the Harvard and Columbia law reviews. She earned her L.L.B. degree at Columbia and tied for first in her class. So, the lady studied and worked hard!

She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963 to 1972, and at Columbia Law School from 1972 to 1980, where she became the first tenured woman and co-authored the first law school case book on sex discrimination.

In 1977 she became a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

In 1972, as the chief litigator of the ACLU's women's rights project, she argued several cases in front of the Supreme Court and attained a reputation as a skilled oral advocate. Over the next eight years, she sought to persuade a majority of the Supreme Court that sex-based legal distinctions should trigger some form of heightened judicial scrutiny.

Her distinguished teaching career and ACLU achievements won her a national reputation and prompted President Jimmy Carter to appoint her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980.

In 1993 President Bill Clinton had the opportunity to become the first Democratic president in twenty-six years to make a Supreme Court appointment. Clinton announced that he was looking for a nominee with "a fine mind, good judgment, wide experience in the law and in the problems of real people, and somebody with a big heart." Calling Ginsburg "the Thurgood Marshall of gender equality law," he concluded that she possessed the requisite intellectual and emotional stature for the job.

She's listed in the Encyclopedia Britannica and there is a very interesting piece about her at

"Between 1972 and 1978, Ginsburg argued six cases before the Court involving sex-role stereotyping and won five. In Craig v. Boren (1976), the Court finally accepted Ginsburg’s view (expressed in a "friend-of-the-court" brief) that gender-based legal distinctions deserved heightened scrutiny.
A later generation of feminist legal scholars has criticized Ginsburg's equal protection theories. They argue that her approach failed to take account of the real differences between the sexes that may sometimes warrant laws giving women preferential treatment. Critics and admirers agree, however, that Ginsburg's work in the 1970s fundamentally altered the legal and social landscape, creating unprecedented personal and professional opportunities for women."

So - to recap- she's been fighting the good fight in regards to gender equality for most of her professional life. She's smart, tough and she knows how to work within the system to effect change. This might not be as visually stimulating as actually leaping over a tall building, but I think it's much more impressive.

I would totally buy a Ruth Bader Ginsberg action figure.

Who would you nominate?