Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a men’s rights advocate. I doubt that she ever called herself that. But when you fight for gender equality, that means you fight against discrimination against men, unless you’re a hypocrite. And though I don’t agree with Justice Ginsburg on much, I don’t think she was a hypocrite. If you don’t believe my characterization of her work, take a look at the five cases RBG won in arguments before the Supreme Court:
Fronterio- A female Air Force officer was denied dependent benefits for her husband, because only wives could automatically receive such benefits. Husbands could only be dependents if they relied on their wives for more than 1/2 of their support.
Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld- Stephen Wiesenfeld’s wife died in childbirth. He applied for Social Security benefits for himself and his newborn child. He was denied benefits for himself, because widowers were not entitled to the same survivor benefits that widows were.
Califano v. Goldfarb- Leon Goldfarb was another widower who applied for Social Security benefits and was denied. This time there was no child involved, yet the law still required widowers to prove something that widows did not.
Duren v. Missouri- Billy Duren appealed his criminal conviction because the jury pool did not fairly represent the community. Specifically, women in his county did not have to serve on juries unless they wanted to do so, men had to. So, the defendant was male, and the law, as is often the case, gave women choices, men responsibilities.
Edwards v. Healy- Another case that turned on the same law that allowed women the choice to serve on juries. In RBG’s arguments, she outline three classes of people who were discriminated against by that law, including men who were required to do something women were not.
Now, it doesn’t matter one bit if RBG took on these cases as a way of fighting “sex role pigeon holing” of women, as she called it. The fact is she well understood that “almost every discrimination against males operates against females, as well…. I don’t know of any line that doesn’t work as a two-edged sword, doesn’t hurt both sexes.” I just want to remind everyone that once upon a time there were feminists that didn’t vilify those men and women who fought for equal rights for men as well as women.
Sex role pigeon holing’ is at the root of men’s issues such as the lack of services for male victims of domestic violence, the 20 times greater likelihood of dying on the job that men face, the bias against men in our criminal and family courts, and the remaining de jure discrimination against men in the law such as the all-male draft registration.