When I received a crocheted jabot, a collar made icon by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (RBG), as a present from a friend, I decided I would wear the piece over my academic gown as a symbol of justice and a tribute to RBG’s life and work. Then, during a print making course I became curious to use the jabot as an object to create an interesting texture on cyano-treated paper. Initially, I laid the collar out neatly in its circular form to let the sun expose the treated paper turning it blue, first image above. Next, I decided to experiment with marbled paper I had created using chemicals dissolved in water. I let this treated paper dry and then added the cyano chemicals and laid the jabot in a twisted form, second image above.
In reflecting on the effect, I recognized the faint rainbow colors reminded me of the LGBTQ movement. The colors add greater symbolism to Justice Ginsburg’s jabot. For the 27 years RBG was a member of the Supreme Court, only the second woman to serve, before she passed away in 2020, she was a champion for LGBTQ rights, making life better for these Americans in the following ways:
- She struck down discrimination based on sexual orientation, and she helped pass marriage equality. She specifically struck down a law preventing same-sex couples from receiving the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
- She granted workplace protections for the LGBTQ population. She made sure sexual orientation and gender identity were recognized as protected classes the same way race and disability are.
- She ensured anti-LGBTQ discrimination was a form of sex discrimination, making it illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Under this ruling, protections were granted to LGBTQ people wherever there are laws against sex discrimination, including employment, housing, health care and education.
- She struck down anti-gay amendments.
- She ruled against the government intervening in matters of private, consensual activity between same-sex partners and ultimately laws that blocked LGBTQ people from adopting or fostering children or preventing LGBTQ parents from maintaining custody of their own children. The Supreme Court overturned sodomy bans in 13 states which meant the criminalization of homosexuality was unconstitutional.
- She officiated same-sex weddings taking her advocacy work into the real world.
For me, the lacey like collars that were RBG’s signature adornment are iconic symbols for justice. One was placed on the fierce girl statue, created by Kristen Visbal, installed in 2017 for International Women’s Day, placed facing the charging bronze bull on Wall Street. The piece was commissioned by a financial services firm to advocate gender diversity on corporate boards. An online petition to make the statue a permanent fixture was started and received over 28,000 signatures within a week. Someone placed a lacey jabot on the statue to celebrate Ginsburg’s fearless approach to empowerment.