International Women’s Day – Of Course We Need It and Of Course It’s Not Enough
A belated post as I have actually been busy in that scary place called ‘offline’ doing feminist stuff.
It’s a day. One day to celebrate women, to highlight our achievements, our strength, our tenacity, our creativity, our all round fucking awesomeness. It’s also a day that highlights our reality, our lived experiences in a world full of misogyny and sexism. In the word’s of Stavvers – “one day a year wont unfuck this mess”
One day. One tiny little day and still one of the depressingly common refrains is ‘what about men?’ (a quick 5 second google will inform you there is a men’s day), ‘why do you need it?’ ‘things are ok for women now’ ‘you have equality’ ad naseum, a whole horde of derailing and belittling nonsense geared towards informing us women we shouldn’t be so selfish as to want one day out of 365 for us. Things are not ‘ok now for women’. These reactions to International Women’s Day are proof of the backlash against feminism and women’s liberation. To quote Virginia Woolf “The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.”. Patriarchy has always had it in for feminists, backlashes such as this prove we are doing something right. Making them worry and become defensive. All those ‘oh noez what about the menz!’ comments are exactly why we need International Women’s Day.
Why do we need international women’s day? for a start, misogyny is everywhere. I did a short talk on yesterday during Merseyside Women’s Movement’s celebrations of International Women’s Day on online activism. I highlighted the fact that as we spend more time online and online space becomes more important in society women face hostility and outright abuse for speaking out online or for just being women. Today I see a bog post by Planet Pavs, one of the amazing twitter feminists I follow highlighting the online abuse she suffered. This is just one small example of the shit women face every day, online and off, just for being women and this is heightened if one is a woman who speaks out against patriarchy, sexism and misogyny.
I also heard reports two women were raped in Liverpool city centre last weekend resulting in areas being cordoned off. This was not reported in the local media as they didn’t want to ‘damage the city’s image’. The authorities are reluctant to address the issues of objectifying imagery plastered around our city as they don’t want to upset the men who run lap dancing clubs and possibly loose money. Yesterday I also learnt the Women’s Library faces an uncertain future, with the collection facing being broken up and moved from it’s purpose built building, and the occupation to save it has now been evicted. The overriding message is our history, our culture, our stories, our lives don’t matter.
This is just a small snapshot of the UK and it’s International Women’s Day. Worldwide women face discrimination, misogyny and abuse every day. From acid attacks, inadequate maternity care leading to high maternal mortality rates, rape as a weapon of war, rape in marriage not being recognised as a crime, being denied the vote, unequal access to education, being denied access to contraception, abortion and sexual health services that save lives. Everywhere women being abused and dying because of patriarchy.
Of course we need International Women’s Day and of course it’s NOT ENOUGH.