A Real Lady’s Workplace

When I was growing up in the 1950’s, there was a lot of emphasis on “how to be a lady.”  This behavioral guide was drummed into my girlfriends and me at home and in Catholic school. NOT being ladylike encompassed chewing gum, eating noisily, talking loudly, arguing with adults and being a show-off.  As best I could tell, being a lady meant being soft-spoken, obedient and demure.

It has taken a lifetime for me to negotiate the often-fine line between being a lady and being a doormat, to stand up for what I believe while keeping a firm grip on my temper. Enter Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “The Notorious RBG.”  I was taken aback a few minutes into this fine documentary to hear Justice Ginsburg say that her mother taught her that she should always be a lady. Ruth Bader Ginsburg—one of only nine women in her Harvard Law School class of 500+, champion of equal rights, role model for thousands of female attorneys?  How could she be all that and “a lady” as well?  I learned that her mother’s definition of being a lady included never allowing oneself to be overcome by useless emotions like anger and always to be independent and able to fend for yourself.

You can now see in theaters and by streaming video what RBG’s definition of being a lady encompasses:  tolerance, civility, dedication, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to fairness. And it doesn’t hurt that she obviously adored her husband. RBG’s life story will lift your spirits.


Photo by Claire Anderson via Unsplash



About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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