Opinion: On the Basis of Sex gives true meaning of feminism

The world lives in a battle of the sexes. For many years, there have been fights for equality between men and women in the media, sports and politics. People have been fighting for equal pay, equal benefits and equal treatment in the workplace, but this fight is far from over. According to the United States Census, women make over half the population in the country, but the American Association of University Women shows men in the work force earning 80 percent more a year than women.  History shows there have been many figures who have contributed to gender equality, but if you were to ask someone to name them, odds are only one name would come to mind: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

On June 14, 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Ginsburg, a Jewish lawyer and women’s rights activist from New York City, as Supreme Court Justice. With a vote of 96-3 in her favor, she became the first woman in the United States to become Supreme Court Justice. Ginsberg continues to fight for equality, but what most people do not know is she spent her whole life fighting against gender discrimination. This year, Focus Features and Participant Media invite you to witness the true story of one of the most prominent figures in the fight for equality.

The Story

The film, On the Basis of Sex, introduces Ginsberg, played by Felicity Jones, as she begins her education at Harvard Law School. Though she is a married woman with a child to raise, she wants to become a lawyer defending the innocent, despite the school’s belief a lawyer is a man’s job. Though she has experience, she is rejected by multiple firms. However, she would not give up so easily. Ginsburg became a law professor at Rutgers University during the 1970s, a time when protests were on the rise to bring equality to the next generation. Ginsburg educates the student body about discrimination in their world, and it is up to them to make a difference. With many laws allowing sex discrimination, Ginsburg is determined to topple the system, and with the help of her husband Marty, played by Armie Hammer, her time is now when they discover a federal tax case pushed aside because of the victim’s gender. Charles Mortiz, an unmarried man played by Chris Mullkey, is acting as a caregiver for his sick mother; however, the government won’t deduct this from his taxes because the role of caregiver is viewed as a woman’s job. Ginsburg sees this as her golden ticket to end gender discrimination and she takes it to federal court, beginning her path as a figure of freedom and equality for all.

My Thoughts

The word “feminism” is used more loosely as people move forward. Most people would interpret a feminist as a radical who wants to reverse the roles of society between men and woman; however, this is not the case. They believe women can do anything a man can do no matter the profession and they should be treated with the same dignity and respect a man receives. Ginsburg is one of the many figures advocating feminism and audiences cannot get enough of this political powerhouse. In her speech to the American Civil Liberties Union, her mother taught her two ways to live life.

“One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent,” she said.

Although the film was not a full biographical account, it highlights the theme of equality through the milestone case in Ginsburg’s career which made her who she is today. The film represents the true meaning of feminism showing how a woman can challenge something beyond her control to make a difference in the world. Not only does she challenge this tax case, she goes up against the United States government to reverse the gender laws and create equality. If it was not for Ginsberg, society would have little to no women in the workforce outside their household.

On the Basis of Sex pays homage to Ginsburg, and the film could not have paid a tribute without the leading lady. Felicity Jones was a powerhouse, considering how most of the time she plays a supporting role. When Jones takes on a leading role, you can expect her to get your attention and carry the story throughout, leaving you wanting more. Jones played the role of Ginsburg well, almost as if the real figure was there to tell the story. She played a headstrong and courageous woman who would change history forever, and she refused to let any man tell her she could not do it.

Fans of Ginsberg will have an eye-opening experience at the theaters as they watch On the Basis of Sex. The film chronicles the milestone case sending her to become one of the current members of the United States Supreme Court. It shows how one person can make a difference, changing the world for the good of humanity, for people like her. It will inspire others to follow in her footsteps and fight for the equality of men and women across the country.

Audiences will fall in love with Jones as she portrays the woman who challenged the legal system to bring justice for everyone, regardless of gender. On the Basis of Sex is a must-see film, not only entertaining audiences with a true story, but endorsing what it means to be a feminist, and with that said, I give it a rating of 8.5 out of 10, and I highly recommend this film to everyone who wants equality for the country, just like the Notorious RBG.


Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Featured Image Pixabay, Pexels




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