The Notorious RBG talks ‘unconscious bias,’ abortion, and push-ups

Image via Wikipedia
Image via Wikipedia
Originally posted on Feministing

In an exclusive interview that appeared on The Rachel Maddow show on Monday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, feminist hero, and Tumblr sensation Ruth Bader Ginsburg talked to MSNBC’s Irin Carmon, sharing her thoughts on abortion, her push-up routine, and how she describes President in Obama in one word.

See the video here…
Here are some of the greatest moments from their discussion…

On unconscious bias:

…what’s still with us and harder to deal with is what I call unconscious bias. And my best example is the symphony orchestra. When I was growing up, one never saw a woman in the symphony orchestra, except perhaps playing the harp. People who should have known better like The New York Times critic, Howard Taubman said, “You could put a blindfold on him and he could tell you whether it’s a woman playing the piano or a man.”

Someone had the simple idea, “Let’s drop a curtain. Let’s drop a curtain between the people who are auditioning and the people who are judging.” And almost overnight, there was a sea change. Once the curtain was dropped, the testers couldn’t tell whether it was a man – or a woman. And they made their judgments based on the quality of the performance.

Some years ago, when I was telling this story, a young violinist told me, “You left out something.” “Well, what? What did I leave out?” “You left out that we auditioned shoeless, so they won’t hear a woman’s heels behind the curtain.” That device of the dropped curtain isn’t so easy to duplicate in other areas.

On abortion access:

It’s not true that it’s [abortion] inaccessible to women of means. And that’s the crying shame. We will never see a day when women of means are not able to get a safe abortion in this country…. It hurts women who lack the means to go someplace else… all the restrictions, they operate against the woman who doesn’t have freedom to move, to go where she is able to get safely what she wants.

On how she does 20 pushups: We do ten at a time. And then I breathe for a bit and do the second set.”

On what she hopes young women take away from her work:

I would like them to have the enthusiasm that we had in the ’70s – determining that the law should catch up to the changes that have occurred in society, changes in the way people whatever, the realization that no one should be held back, boy or girl – because of gender, artificial gender barriers. That everyone should be – in the words of a wonderful song that Ms. Magazine popularized, everyone should be free to be you and me.

On the one word that comes to mind when she hears the name President Obama: “Sympathy. That’s a French word. It means more than sympathetic. It means who cares about other people.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

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