Tributes to the late supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have been dominated by one feature: a white lace collar on a black background.
On social media, there are photographs of pets in fancy collars, “dissent collar” pumpkins and statues of girls wearing collars.
On Instagram, “craftivism” accounts posted photographs of Ginsburg quotes such as “real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time”, inside antique lace collars, monochrome tribute quilts and beaded circles. Many knitters posted images of monochrome hand-knitted jumpers incorporating a white collar, with the hashtag #knitoriousrbg.
The New Yorker magazine’s cover features a large white collar on a black background, its lace-like pattern made up of the female sex symbol, no cover lines or explanations necessary.
Ginsburg often wore a collar over her black robes. She did so deliberately, to incorporate “something typical of a woman” into a uniform which, like so much else, had been designed for men, she explained in 2009. The collar became a meme around the same time that Ginsburg became a pop culture icon, the subject of the “Notorious RBG” Tumblr account – a nickname that referred to the rapper Notorious BIG – in celebration of her liberal values and landmark Shelby County v Holder dissent.
One particular piece of jewellery – a spiky design decorated with darkly glinting rhinestones – which she described in a 2014 interview as “my dissenting collar” because “it looks fitting for dissents”, became particularly popular. She wore it the day after Donald Trump’s election in a perceived silent protest, prompting a wide variety of “dissent collar” merchandise.
Ginsburg, who died a week ago, has become the first woman in US history to lie in state at the US Capitol.