Women’s History Month is winding down – only 2 more days. 😦 And while that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to talk about women (past and present) who have helped shape the world, it does mean that today’s blog is fitting as we near the end of this month. It’s all about why my daughter loves Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Let’s talk about the influence of women in the media on girls…
As an author (The Travelers, Saguaro Books), I can’t escape the media. My day is filled with Twitter and Instagram. It’s a blessing and a curse. Unless you live in the wilderness with no technology or contact with the outside world, you also are influenced by the media. That means our children are influenced as well, either directly or indirectly. More often than not that includes entertainment figures.
This isn’t always a bad thing. There’s certainly nothing wrong with idolizing Beyoncé, for example. She’s a strong, positive woman and a good role model. The Kardashians, however, leave a little to be desired, in my opinion. Yet, these are often the type of people our daughters are exposed to.
Coupled with recent studies indicating girls don’t think they are as smart as boys, it makes me wish there was more emphasis on women outside of the entertainment field, such as someone like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made… It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
So, now about my daughter…
OK, here’s the thing. I have an awesome kid (human, not baby goat. You Gilmore Girls fans will understand that joke.) She’s the kind of kid Lorelei Gilmore would want to have. She loves to travel, learn and think. And, the best part, she loves books. She reads, a ton, more than me, despite a very busy schedule. Luckily, she still likes me enough that she’ll talk with me about her books and that’s how I learned of her love of Ruth Bader Ginsberg (aka the Notorious RBG. I love that nickname!)
“Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.”
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In addition to being a reader, my daughter is also a dancer and a musician. In fact, she wants to be a dancer when she grows up and idolizes dancers like Misty Copeland (my daughter has read her book too), who is also a great role model. And I hate to put a “however” after that sentence. However, given all the talk and research about we are inadvertently steering our girls away from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, it made me wonder if her affinity for dance and music means I’m guilty of not encouraging her to try out more science and math-oriented fields.
Here’s where RBG comes into play…
When my daughter picked up the book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a recent trip to San Francisco, my first thought was that I was thrilled she would be learning about the life of such an accomplished woman (who is not in the entertainment field).
It ended up being much more. As you know being a lawyer (generally a prerequisite for being a Supreme Court judge) requires math, logic and reasoning skills. This falls under the “STEM” umbrella. And, by the end of reading the RBG book, my daughter was re-thinking her future life as a dancer.
She’s said she’s now interested in being a lawyer. Don’t get me wrong, she still plans to do dance. That part she has meticulously planned out. But she wants to add attorney (specifically for civil rights) as one of her future goals, just like RBG, because she thinks RBG is amazing (and she’s right).
A dancing lawyer, I’m trying to picture this. It’s funny in my head…But, there’s no law against double majoring and in dance and law. Why not?
“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Why my daughter loves RBG…
So, I asked my daughter. Why do you like RBG so much? Can you give me your top 10 reasons. She could and she did. Here they are (in her own words with a few “Mom translations” thrown in).
1. She was just a regular girl. But she went Cornell, Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School. (Mom translation: RBG was the daughter of immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, where she attended public school. In a time when men often needed a prep school pedigree to attend ivy league schools she did it without one. She’s a trailblazer.)
2. She always stuck to her beliefs.
3. She’s smart but never snobby about being smart. (Mom translation: She’s so smart she doesn’t need to prove it.)
4. She always had a goal and achieved that goal.
5. She never missed a day at work. (Mom translation: She’s a hard-working, dedicated, reliable person.)
6. She was the second female supreme court justice.
7. She was a civil rights lawyer and worked with the ACLU. (Mom translation: She used her smarts to help people.)
8. She can be friends with people who are polar opposite of her. She was best friends with Justice Scalia and even rode an elephant with him in India. (Mom translation: She’s a super tolerant, understanding, open-minded human being.)
9. Even at 84, she can do 20 push-ups and has a personal trainer. (Mom translation: She’s a bad ass.)
10. Her husband did all the cooking because she was so bad at it. (Mom translation: Even in her personal life, RBG didn’t care if she followed social norms or expectations.)
What’s the secret to getting more kids to idolize RBG over the Kardashians?
What do you think I’m going to say – we need to get RBG her own reality show? No. Although that would probably be awesome. You probably already know what I’m going to say. When in doubt, I think the answer is books! Get your kids to put down the iPhone and read more books about great women like RBG. There are so many out there! It’s really not hard. I’ll have some suggestions in tomorrow’s blog for the last day of Women’s History Month.