Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Today is International Women's Day!!!

Today is International Women's Day!

My friends who consider me "the most (militant) feminist person they know" will be surprised to find out that I planned all my posts for this week without even realizing that today was going to happen. I mean, I knew today was going to happen in terms of the passage of time, but I didn't remember that it would be International Women's Day. You get it.

So here is a random assortment of observations about today, to try to make up for my gaff:

I am drinking out of my Male Tears mug this morning, mostly because, when I started making my tea, I thought, "I guess I should drink out of my feminist mug."

I am going to work today. I didn't even really consider taking the day off, mostly because I've got a lot to do and I'm taking over management in my company and we are a staff of women (except the boss, who is male), and thus I know women's contributions are very appreciated in my workplace.

I feel guilty about going to work and about not even really considering the alternative. I know this is about more than just my own direct environment, but is a larger issue. Why do I not feel compelled to make this point? Or at least, not in this way? I'm still not sure.

Recently, my boyfriend and I decided to be really extravagant: we hired a friend who was starting a housekeeping business to come in and clean our place once a month. She is now moving away and can't do it anymore. As I thought about potential replacement people, I realized that they are all women. Why aren't there male housecleaners?

I wish I was more chill about traditionally feminine things to freak out about, like the fact that there's a dirty pan on the stove right now. This is, in part, because I hate fulfilling stereotypes. It is also, I'm sure, because "feminine things" are devalued in society and I don't want to associate myself with devalued things.

I had an argument with some coworkers a while ago about gender. Specifically, they were dreaming of a world where gender doesn't exist, and I was (surprisingly) arguing in favour of gender. Not because I'm so in loooove with the construct of gender, but because cognitively our brains REQUIRE to categories in order to function in the world. If we abolish gender, we'll box people in based on something else, and it will be just as destructive. I think we need to just learn not to be assholes about the categories our brains create instead of switching to a new criteria.

The first song that came up on my Spotify playlist today was about waiting for a boy's love and I thought - mmmmm, not today. Luckily I have a "Putting the Grrrrr in Grrrls" playlist! A mixture of old school No Doubt and Lizzo, I'm pretty stoked about this start to the day. Listen with me!

Thinking more about the Women's Day Off Work: some industries would completely shut down if we all didn't work for a day, especially lower-paid, support and domestic work. Others won't even flinch because they have little or no women. Would they even notice or care?

To me one of the main problems is that we, as a society, value roles filled by women lower than those filled by men. Does a house not getting cleaned for a day or a secretary not being present show how vital that role is? I wonder if part of my hesitation about all this is that it doesn't go far enough. Anyone can cover a few extra bases or let something go for a day. What about a week? A month?

What if men didn't work? What would function just fine, and what would fall apart? I think it's easier for people in support roles to step up into management positions than for those in management to step down into support (they don't know how to do the things). That might be interesting.

Have you read Y the Last Man? It's a graphic novel imagining a world where all the men die and suddenly women are left alone on earth (except, of course, one man who somehow survived and is the natural protagonist). It's a pretty interesting exploration of the good and bad that might happen if we suddenly had no men. (Mostly it's bad, in large part because if half the population up and died at once, we'd be in a rather post-apocalyptic situation.)

Finally, a bunch of photos of interesting women. Click on the photos to learn more!

Ida B. Wells
Image Source: Wikimedia

Sally Ride
Image Source: Wikimedia

Frida Kahlo
Image Source: Wikimedia

Miriam Makeba
Image Source: Tom Beetz

Rukmini Devi
Image Source: Wikimedia


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