It’s International Women’s Day today. There have been lots of posts on social media today about educating ourselves about the women in history who have helped to shape and create our lives and what we have, as a whole, in society and in our cultures. Great posts about celebrating women and their contributions. Lots of articles and blogs about potential realized…and much more about the plight of women throughout the world that still will live and die with their potential unrealized.
All great posts and insightful. I even mentioned one to my son. His remark… “When is International Men’s Day?”.
Now of course, the appropriate female response would be one that points out the many years, centuries even, of mistreatment and discrimination and maltreatment of women for nothing more than being women. The argument is that “everyday is men’s day” (overheard recently) and that men have never had to fight to be treated as respected as equals. That, even today, women earn less than men do for the exact same job – for no other reason than that they don’t have a penis. That, even today, female infants are less valued and that gender selection is still a booming industry in some areas of the world. So many reasons why we have a day to acknowledge and celebrate women.
I recently read a book that was about female empowerment and about owning our power and strength as women and taking back our right to be safe and about being more in touch with our feminine selves in order to achieve all this. Great I thought. Until about halfway through the book when I actually did something I haven’t done in a long time; I stopped reading it and got rid of it. Why? Simply because I couldn’t agree with the increasingly vehemently stated views that men – all men – were potential rapists and essentially one bad beard away from caveman like behaviour. So was I to believe that my sons are nothing more than misogynistic rape machines in the waiting?
I don’t buy it. I don’t believe that every man is inherently “bad” any more than I believe that a woman has a “right” to a faster queue or a different set of standards to achieve for no other reason than having been born with an innie instead of an outie.
Women have fought to be equal. Excellent. I can get behind that. But for us to be better than men…for us to say that a man can’t march with us at a rally for our equality…for us to say that men can’t support us by being there in an event for women-centered issues (or that they have to be “vouched for” to do so)…how is that right? Now seeing my “sisters” demand to be treated as “better than”… how does that make it any different that when men treated us as less than? How do I explain to my sons that they are not eligible for the special treatment that their female classmates are because they were born male? When my son asks why men don’t have a day and the only answer is that – essentially – they don’t deserve one because of the way society wronged women in the past…does that make us strong and empowered and equal? Sure doesn’t feel like it to me.