RBG: A Documentary for the Ages

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Natalie Calman, Staff Writer

You’ve seen her on television and heard her name but do you truly know her story?

Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West draw the memories of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s greatest successes, which changed the lives of all American women, to the forefront of their viewers’s minds in their documentary RBG

In RBG, Cohen and West return us to Ginsburg’s childhood and reveal the obstacles she had to overcome to gain as big a voice in American politics as she did.

The creators of RBG highlighted Ginsburg’s strength time and time again throughout the documentary. Ginsburg’s strength is shown in the first scene as Ginsburg is working out in a gym while over 80 years old, and again when it is shared that she was a “ a lawyer when women were not wanted in legal positions.” RBG is characterized as the “closest thing to a superhero” by many interviewees. Although very petite, Ginsburg was always strong and fought for what she believed in throughout the entirety of her life. The strength and willingness to stand up for what was right that Ginsburg exhibited throughout her career, however, has much to do with her mother, Celia Bader, a woman who pushed her boundaries from the start. 

Ginsburg was taught by her mother that whatever she wanted, she must work hard to reach. Ginsburg soon became known for her tenacity and accomplished the unthinkable time and time again throughout her lifetime. As demonstrated in the documentary, no one has been more determined than Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The documentary spotlights many of Ginsburg’s major life accomplishments, all of which led her to gain a stronger voice and a vast audience. Two of the many accomplishments garnered by Ginsburg and discussed during the documentary include her nomination to the Federal Court of Appeals as a judge in 1980, and her nomination to be the 107th justice of the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. 

Although it addresses many of the positive aspects of Ginsburg’s life, RBG also makes a point to mention the obstacles that Ruth had to tackle throughout her fight for gender equality. The documentary shares how Ruth had to deal with the idea that being a woman was an impediment. This included professors asking her why she was taking a seat in their class that could’ve been a male’s spot and not being allowed to work in a law firm due to her gender. During her tenure as a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg opened the eyes of many people to the disparity between men and women’s rights and the need for gender equality in American society. 

Overall, RBG was exceptional and provided great insight into the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the rules she defied to gain a voice for American women. Her vision for a more level playing field was clearly demonstrated and well captured in this documentary, making RBG an absolute must-watch!