Let’s start off this post just right.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Today is the 8th of March, the day set aside (since 1911) to celebrate women of all races, religions and nationalities, united in our struggle and fight for equality and acceptance. The colour code of today is purple, first used in 1908 by the Women’s Social and Political Union of Great Britain to show their support of the suffragettes. Purple represents justice and dignity.
With the exception of a few days a month when I wish I could donate my uterus to a research lab, animal shelter or whoever will take it, I love being a woman. Love it.
Even though the life of a woman is enveloped with strife and struggle and lots of chains. Even though since the day of her birth a woman is constantly being reminded of her limitations . “A woman does not…” “Don’t you know you are a woman? “As a woman you should…” “But you are a woman” “You are just a girl” ‘What do you know? You are just a girl”
Even though the woman is blamed for the misfortunes that befall her “You should have worn something more decent” “Good girls don’t go there” “This wouldn’t have happened if you were at home scrubbing the floors.”
Bedtime stories are about vile women who strayed from their cages and got burned. Women who deserved whatever they got because they were bad.
Even though the word girl is commonly used as a pejorative. “You throw like a girl” “What are you, a girl?” “Stop being such a woman” “You are acting like a woman”
Even though from infancy girls are taught that their lives are for serving others and it is selfish to think about themselves.
“A woman is never too tired or to sick to cook for her husband.” “You need to learn how to cook so you can get a good husband.” “A good woman sacrifices everything for her family” “A good wife prays ceaselessly for her husband” “If you don’t do blah, your man will leave you.” “You have to be a virgin angel and a freaky slut at the same time!” “You cannot make more money than your husband, he will be emasculated.” “That is the life of a woman, just endure.”
Endure: Synonym for woman. See also: Long suffering, patient.
Even though women are taught to forgive and excuse the behaviour of men but to not to expect forgiveness in return
“Men will be men” “Boys will be boys” “All men are like that”
Even though women are vilified for possessing the traits that men are praised for.
“She’s too aggressive” “She’s too bossy” “She’s a bitch” “She’s too ambitious”
Even though women have to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously.
Successful man: He’s obviously very intelligent and hardworking. Successful woman: I wonder who she slept with to get to where she is.”
Even though women are crucified for taking ownership of their own bodies which are there solely for the pleasure of men.
Even though women are blamed for biological processes they have no control over
“She has given birth to three daughters and no sons. Her womb must be bad”
Even though people try to rubbish women empowerment by bringing up irrelevant points
“Well there are more male garbage collectors than women why not protest that?”
“Men are the ones who fight wars, so they deserve more rights than women” “My uncle’s driver’s second cousin’s son was assaulted by a woman. Why aren’t you protesting that?” “Feminism makes women disrespect and talk back to men” “Feminism is sexist. Don’t men deserve equality too?”
Despite all these, from my hair to my toes, in all my feminine glory, I still love being a woman, It’s a tough world out there for women and I wish things were different but I love being a woman still.
For my women and girls out there who have internalised this inferiority, it is time for a change. It begins with us. We have to first see ourselves as worthy before we can convince others. A consequence of being born in a society entrenched in patriarchy is that a lot of people, women included, internalise and embody these sexist values. A lot of people are not capable of critical thinking and so just go with the flow.
As a woman it is important to know that your gender should not be a handicap. That you are a woman should not hinder you from attaining the pinnacle of society. Your femininity should not relegate you to the back. Please do not pass on this inferiority to your daughters. Society was wrong when it told you that you were a second class citizen. Your own parents may have endorsed this view, but they were wrong too. Don’t tell your sons to beat their chests in a display of supremacy and don’t tell your daughters to shrink away never to be seen or heard. Teach your sons to respect women and teach your daughters to expect and demand this respect.
If you can dream it, you can achieve it. Question everything that you have been taught. Question everything and everyone that says you are inferior. Dare to dream high and higher.
To the men, we love you, we really do. As Simone de Beauvoir wrote in her book The Second Sex, of all the oppressed groups, women are the ones in closest proximity with their oppressors. Blacks may fully unite against Whites; the Proletariat against the bourgeoisie; but women cannot do the same against men. Men are our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons. You can calm down, there is no need to feel threatened. That we are asking for our rights does not mean we want the entire male species sent off to the guillotine.
To the men who are also “victims” of a patriarchal society, who have swallowed everything they have been taught about the inferiority of women, it is not too late to change. You don’t have to disrespect a woman because your daddy said that’s the way it should be.
To the men who absolutely hate women and despise our guts, sit back, stew in your bitterness and let us have our day. Please don’t ask why there isn’t an International Men’s Day.
Here’s to shattering glass ceilings, to breaking free of chains placed on us by society, to achieving our dreams no matter how unattainable they might seem at the moment. Here’s to us. Happy International Women’s Day my loves. Progress is slow but it is coming.
Be sure to check out the IWD website http://www.internationalwomensday.com/