A Personal Recollection: Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When I pictured my first semester of college during a global pandemic, I imagined various horror stories and prepared myself for the worst.  The one thing I didn’t imagine was that I would be sobbing uncontrollably on Tempel Green in front of my new friends.  I thought I had prepared myself for the worst, but I never prepared myself for RBG dying.  So when I received a text from my mom saying that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died,  I was in absolute disbelief. Only after reading the New York Times headline: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court’s Feminist Icon, Is Dead at 87,” was I able to accept the harsh reality.  That’s when the sobbing began.  I was too sad to even be concerned about whether or not my friends would think I was insane (luckily they still like me...I think). 

Whenever someone asks who inspires me, I always say Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  In my mind, she was the epitome of a strong, intelligent, and empowered woman.  She represented everything I wanted to be.  She was smart and opinionated and unforgiving in her beliefs.  I know she was not perfect.  There are valid criticisms of her and some of her decisions.  However, you can still acknowledge that a person is human and inevitably flawed, while still admiring the multitude of positive things they contributed.  I will always admire the progress for women’s rights she fought so hard for, and how she has become a role model for so many women.

As a woman in today’s society, it can be easy to fall down a rabbit hole worrying about what everyone thinks of you and getting caught up in trying to please everyone (which is an exhausting and insurmountable task).  RBG made me proud enough to truly be myself.  She made me feel like I could do anything or be anything I wanted if I worked hard enough.  Taking inspiration from Ruth Bader Ginsburg made me feel like I didn’t need to make myself, or my goals, smaller.  I can be a woman with ambitions and with enough will, and I can accomplish my outrageously high goals.  RBG never allowed anyone to tell her what she could or couldn’t do.  She fought for herself, and for others who faced unfair discrimination.  She was a warrior for women and for those without a voice.  I admire her strength and tenacity in the face of so much adversity: from simply being a woman, from having a child while going through law school, and from battling cancer time and time again.  She embodies so much for me, and I will always look up to her.

So as the whole world is mourning the loss of RBG, I am right along with them.  I feel distraught that the passing away of one 87-year-old woman makes so many feel as though their most basic rights are at stake.  Distraught that a powerful, wonderful woman was taken too soon.  And I am distraught that one of my personal icons is gone.  I know I am not alone in my sentiments towards the late Justice.  It is reassuring to see the outpouring of support for her and to see all of the other young women and girls who admire her.  She is gone but will not be forgotten.  I have no doubt that her legacy will be continued by so many strong women who will continue to dissent against misogyny and the patriarchy. And I have no doubt that we will make Ruth Bader Ginsburg proud.