International Women’s Day is Just Kind of Annoying: A Feminist Perspective (and Links to Useful Stuff)
One of my favorite things to do is at the start of each day is to write down what I want to get done each day. Then my biggest disappointment is looking a month later at what I haven’t gotten done. But I continue to do, but not every day, because when I was younger, I spent more time writing down what I wanted to do than actually doing it. So why the mundane example? Because I think it sums up pretty well my frustration with much what I have seen (or as we will see, not seen) with International Women’s Day attention. Disclaimer, I am not going to any of this article trying to directly prove I am a feminist and thus should be allowed to have an opinion on this. The title was more to put my cards on the table for everyone to see.
As with any of these specialized days meant to bring attention to underrepresented groups, the most popular way to celebrate them seems to be bringing overrepresented, highly well-off celebrities as ambassadors for these groups. As cynical as that last sentence seemed, I actually think that while that paradigm can be limiting, it works to quickly bring attention to issues that affect these underrepresented groups. This is where my problem is. I don’t think they do enough to really dive into the issues that affect women and keep them down. If I have to read one more block of text about generally “hoping girls today will not have to worry about the limits that affect women today”, I will vomit. They said this too while I was young, and here we still are. Tweets, ads, and sound bites only do so much if they don’t have a larger context behind them. It is understandable but also infuriating to see all this because the point of today is solidarity, and the quickest way to ruin solidarity is to talk about details, because someone is bound to disagree with each other. Not to mention, if we are trying to persuade that women can be strong too in the main text, then why are we encouraged to run from critical discourse in the subtext?
Admittedly, maybe it is just a personal ax to grind because I don’t see my particular issues I have dealt with being dealt with. Being told I am hysterical when I disagree even politely, the silent expectation that I will not take my work as seriously because I am the only not-man in a job (that there is no reason to be all men), and all the focus on my appearance for tasks that have nothing to do with. The fact I am trained to program freakin’ robots (only a simple three-week certificate, but still) but have to fight against the fact that robot technicians are 98% male, (again, no reason). Sad part is that I have it quite good compared to other stories I have heard. I have worked with many single mothers in retail caught in a never-ending catch-22 of needing to work many hours and jobs to support a family because they can’t get child support and enough help generally. They get told constantly that if they “really care”, they will pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps and get a formal education in something more prestigious. I suppose these interlocutors haven’t heard of sleep.
But if I do all this complaining without some solution, how am I better than who I complain about? The answer probably has already been decided by the reader. Here is really what I want you to do to celebrate International Women’s Day: Here are some articles, videos, etc., or find another one on a specific issue, then talk about it with somebody else, preferably someone you disagree with. Then try to talk about what can be done (maybe with same person, another, or yourself):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it0EYBBl5LI — Classic John Green. A few years old now, but is still relevant and gives good diving boards for debates
https://medium.com/@dinachka82/about-your-poem-1f26a7585a6f — Given my style, you’ll see why I like this one.
https://medium.com/@shlbye/bring-back-rosie-the-riveter-951936b0e193 — shameless plug. Sorry not sorry. I do think women in manufacturing though don’t get talked about enough.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reason-your-diversity-numbers-arent-changing-michelle-silverthorn/ — Good old, utilitarian, “here’s why we haven’t made as much progress as we’d like”. I like how granular this is.
https://yourstory.com/2019/01/top-flipkart-seller-ritu-kushik/ — I love capitalist feminism.
https://www.debate.org/opinions/should-women-be-able-to-get-feminine-hygiene-products-for-free — Take a break from LinkedIn shares, and talk about why periods products do or don’t break our wallets.
https://everydayfeminism.com/2016/12/asexual-sex-myths-to-unlearn/ — Doesn’t get talked about enough, but hopefully will in the future. This is more controversial in feminism than I think people realize……..those that know this is an issue.
And I will end the list with some YouTubers who remind us that yes, we can:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyRsl8zIOCdTt0p_hMtnRaQ — Mona Haydar — Here’s fun prank, show her to anyone who thinks clothing worn around women’s head is inherently “oppressive”.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEDkO7wshcDZ7UZo17rPkzQ — Mayuko — Code, baby, code.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3KEoMzNz8eYnwBC34RaKCQ — Simone Giertz—Robots!
There are many topics here I know I missed, so if you have any good suggestions, leave them below. That way, I can procrastinate from writing articles by reading articles.