It was/is International Woman’s Day! I have the same mixed feelings about this day as I do with Black History Month. On one hand, it is awesome to see marginalized groups get the spotlight that they are actively denied every other day of the year! Ladies are 50%ish of the people on this planet, but you could have fooled me! What have they done for me lately? A Lot! Let’s talk about it! Also minorities have a rich and storied history in this country and around the world! They have also done a lot of cool things! Not a joke!
On the other hand, setting aside a particular time as “belonging” to one marginalized group, means you can continue to ignore them for the rest of the year. Why would we talk about women’s contributions to science in the normal course of a class? That’s what Ada Lovelace Day is for! Black people only do cool stuff in February!
But you know. Institutionalized racism and sexism are still very much a part of our lives, and if Women’s Day and Black History month allow someone to have a real conversation about privilege and the inequalities that people live everyday, if someone, for lack of a better term, “wakes up.” It’s worth my discomfort. Which stems mostly from the fact that we shouldn’t need these days, but god knows we do. I don’t think today is about appreciating the women in our lives, you should do that all the time! Pro tip: Not all ladies like flowers and candy, try something different. I think it’s about acknowledging that a very significant portion of the population faces is treated unequally compared to the other significant portion of the population. This inequality is not based in anything legitimate (assuming cultural norms that promote oppression are not “legit”). This inequality is ignored, or downplayed (Ladies are just like that! If you want to make more, you should work harder!). But it is getting better, has been getting better, but it’s not there yet. This is a day for acknowledging that difference, and the roles we play in continuing it, and maybe (hopefully) deciding to do something about that.
Or you could, you know, hug some girl or whatever. Giver her ice cream! Girls love that shit!