A Feminist Tarot: Justice

In some ways, I find it strange that Justice has long been depicted as female, since it’s really about objective decisions and reason.  Given the long-held stereotype of the hysterical, emotional woman, it’s interesting that the icon for balance and fairness has also been traditionally female.  In that sense, it’s one of the few icons which I might have been comfortable leaving be in the deck.

However, I think updating the iconography to depict Justice not as a blindfolded ancient goddess figure but as a modern-day justice in a courtroom deepens the interpretation. Not only does the modernized depiction better speak to modern audiences, it also then encompasses the issues of gender balance in roles of power within government.  It calls to mind the struggle, past and present, to gain access for women in traditionally male-dominated fields such as law.  It also speaks to the idea that, when it comes to such struggles, visible representation is important.  Women need to see other women in seats of power.  Those aspirations should be planted early.

In thinking about the depiction of this card, I was reminded of an interview with Justice Ginsburg when she said that she was often asked when she would consider there to be enough women on the Supreme Court.  Her response:  “When there are nine.”

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