It is International Women’s Day 2017 today. I love it; I love women and I love being a woman, especially in America. I owe my many freedoms to the men and women who made it possible here for female citizens to vote, to work more easily as a mother, to reclaim her own reproductive rights and to have a general voice in society. These are merely a few of the glorious rights we women possess in the freest country in the world. So why on God’s green Earth is this phenomenon called “Day Without a Woman” taking place, today of all days, as well?
All across social media the past week, I have been seeing posts encouraging American women, on March 8, to skip work (“paid or unpaid”), to wear red, to eschew social media (oops), and to not spend money anywhere other than at small woman-owned businesses. Is this a protest? A strike? A show of solidarity? Whatever the case, this radical display won’t accomplish anything other than alienating those who have never not supported women’s rights. Here’s why:
1. What Rights Don’t Women Have in 2017’s America? It is laughable in the face of tragedies, of the life-and-death variety, happening to women elsewhere in the world (Sharia Law ring a bell, anyone?) that American women are the ones complaining about being subjugated. No, not laughable– downright, maddeningly offensive.
Part of this protest’s manifesto professes to aim to “stand with women around the world.” I’m sure the woman who got stoned to death for being a rape victim in [name a country] would appreciate this patronizing, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gesture from those who don’t have to confront such horrors on a daily basis.
You took a day off from your unpaid internship getting Jimmy Fallon coffee? Aww, my mutilated clitoris and I thank you!… Wait, you’re not gonna buy any shoes at Bloomingdales today? Girl power!
If you want to take a stand for women’s rights today, do it in a manner both more direct and effective. Use the time you are off today to volunteer, whether it’s for a women’s shelter here (funny how NONE of the manifesto’s enumerations included this idea) or an international charity helping to empower women oppressed under Sharia Law. There are areas of England, England, in which I cannot walk down the street holding hands with my male partner thanks to the implementation of Sharia Law.
I’m sure the woman who got stoned for being a rape victim would appreciate this patronizing, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gesture from those who don’t have to confront such horrors on a daily basis:
You took a day off from your unpaid internship getting Jimmy Fallon coffee? Aww, thank you!
You’re not gonna buy any shoes at Bloomingdales today? Girl power!
2. This is So Presumptuously Pompous. “Skip work today.” Okay! I’ll just tell my boss I need the day off… because I’m a hard-working American woman who deserves to skip work! I have too many privileges in this country, which I need to enjoy at my own leisure on this day… because. The manifesto made NO attempt to modify its parameters for the majority of American women, who simply cannot afford to take time off on a random Wednesday… i.e. who can’t afford to lose their jobs because a bunch of celebrities skipped work and tweeted at them to do so, as well.
Do you see how, maybe, this could make many people, who probably have always supported feminist values, roll their eyes so far into the back of their heads?
The manifesto made NO attempt to modify its parameters for the majority of American women, who can’t afford to lose their jobs because a bunch of celebrities skipped work and tweeted at them to do so, as well.
3. Why can’t It Just Be #InternationalHUMANSDay? Look, I love that we are celebrating the good people who are our mothers, sisters, daughters and lovers but these demographic-specific holidays have always come off self-segregating and ultimately detrimental to the cause.
Sure, all holidays are merely symbolic by nature, but is it so radical to ask that, in 21st century’s First World, we celebrate both sexes and their accomplishments at the same time? Or all races simultaneously? Or how about just celebrating those individuals, of any race, gender, or creed, who have contributed greatly to our society? That way, we are not drawing self-dividing lines that submerge each person’s individual value beneath inane labels, labels that unnecessarily box us in and squirrel us away from uniting as one human race.