It’s International Women’s Day today. To all the men posting mushy shout outs on Facebook, I see and appreciate you. It’s cool, but we do this “woman” thing on the daily and that our world needs a day to celebrate it is kind of weird. It feels less about being “fierce” and even less about feminism and more a reminder that The Patriarchy is a real thing.
International Women’s Day was commemorated for the first time in 1911. Today, though equality between the sexes is pretty much globally legislated, inequality continues to be the general order of things. Women still get paid less, work harder and blamed when a man forces his penis into their vagina. In some places they fight for the right to drive. Women writers are published less than men and are the target of countless inane, gendered marketing campaigns. The actual existence of IWD is proof of the continued oppression of women, and a minor concession to the fact that our gender ideals are still totally fucked up. In keeping with the official theme of this year’s IWD, “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum,” I’d like to propose correcting the misnomer and/or creating a new commemorative event, “International Misandry Day.” Jkjkjk.
I don’t really celebrate International Women’s Day – though last year I did have one of those pink cupcakes brought to the office by a well-meaning male colleague – because, like a lot of women who either identify as feminist or not, I am privileged enough to practice some kind of active resistance every day. And since International Misandry Day will never pass I’d say that should be the real takeaway from IWD: make every day decisions that reflect the girl-power platitudes you’ve retweeted and posted.
Misogyny, like racism, is a system that’s a tributary to maybe the penultimate method of societal control, capitalism. So the best (and most fun) way to be intentional about your solidarity with women is to actually let them get money. If you live in Toronto, shop at Miracle Thieves, an art and style collective run by women, or contemplate and purchase the cosmic art of Rajni Perera, or go see Pomme is French For Apple, a play about pum pum. (Seriously go see Pomme – it runs at the Young Theatre until March 16). Seek out music, art, movies and writing by women. There are different versions of girlhood everywhere and it is some form of resistance to be conscious of them.
Dudes, maybe you can practice being less sexually entitled with random women or reading about how patriarchy affects your actions or being nicer to your girlfriend (BE NICER TO YOUR GIRLFRIEND). And women, since you are on the receiving end of oppression, there are no rules except to do you – and maybe not be so mean to each other. “There is no intimacy like that between two women who have chosen to be sisters.” This quote from Warsan Shire, a young contemporary British writer and poet, is part of my arsenal of life credos. And today it reminds me that everyday female solidarity is the best, most powerful way to smash the patriarchy.