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Monica Burke is a research assistant in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.
Growing up with only sisters as siblings, we were raised to aspire to all that we were capable of—no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts.”
Ruth - Bader - Ginsburg - Supreme - Court
So, while Ruth Bader Ginsburg may not be my favorite Supreme Court justice in terms of her jurisprudence, I deeply admire how she proved that she is just as capable as any man to sit on the highest bench in the nation.
That’s why I was so excited to watch the new biopic “On the Basis of Sex,” which dramatizes Ginsburg’s early career and her battle to overcome sex discrimination, not only in her own life, but also in the law.
Movie - Word - Sex - Sex - Discrimination
What struck me about the movie is what it didn’t do—reinterpret the word “sex” in “sex discrimination” to mean “gender identity.”
In the movie, after Ginsburg has finished writing her legal brief in Moritz v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, arguing that a bachelor who was denied a tax deduction for his mother’s caretaker was discriminated against for being a man, one of her students at Rutgers University must copy the final draft on a typewriter.
Student - Copy - Ginsburg - Mentions - Page
As the student presents the final copy to Ginsburg, she timidly mentions that, after typing up the brief page by page, one word was practically jumping off the page: “sex.”
Ginsburg agrees that the provocative connotation of the word might be too distracting and suggests swapping it for the word “gender.” From there on out, all of the characters substitute the term “gender” for “sex.”
Sense - Development - Term - Gender - 1960s
That makes sense when you consider the historical development of the term “gender,” which arose in the 1960s as a contradistinction from sex, to indicate the social expectations traditionally associated with one of the sexes.
I was not surprised at all by Ginsburg’s student’s observation...
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