Yesterday was International Women’s Day. March 8th. A day to commemorate the movement for women’s rights. The first Women’s Day was held on February 28, 1909 in New York and was organized by the socialist party of America. In 1975 the United Nations adopted the day and since then members have proclaimed March 8th as the UN day for women’s rights and world peace.
I am grateful to live in a country where women are pretty close to being equal to men. I earn the same wage as a male co worker (if we are the same level). I am respected by the men in my life. I am not forced to do anything I don’t want too. I have the right to choose if I want to be pregnant or not and to end a pregnancy, if I want (within a reasonable time frame) I have access to medical care. I have equal access to education. I can walk down most streets and not be afraid. I can voice my opinion without fear of being kidnapped or killed.
I am a person. I have rights. I am not just a “woman”.
However, my appearance, my face, my body are still being examined all the time. The other day my daughter said to me, after we had been out running errands in different stores throughout the city “Mom, when guys stare at you when we are out do any of them ask you to marry them?”
What. The. Fuck.
What? How? Who? Oh my gosh.
She said this with pure wonder and an honest to goodness belief that this is how things go. She believes that if a guy stares at you that he loves you and wants spend the rest of his life with you. When in reality I know that guy(s) are thinking what is under my clothes, how big my chest is and what I would be like in bed. (This may not be every guys thought but many do think this way)
When I was younger, I would go out with my friends to clubs and bars and was constantly hit on. If I was walking down the street I would have horns honked at me, guys calling me names, pointing out my body parts, asking me if I would sleep with them. It was so bad I stopped going out. I remember having a conversation with my sister about how annoying it was to go out because we were objectified and the comments were never ending. I just didn’t want to be around it anymore.
I used to be harassed over instant messenger, at work, asking me out on dates and telling me how hot I was and what parts of my body they liked. I only got a job I was NOT qualified for because of what I was wearing and how I looked. I was hit on, I was told I was gorgeous, I was told I had a nice ‘rack, I was asked how big my breasts were. It was infuriating. (Over the last few years I haven’t really paid attention to the looks and comments – why would I? I’m a mom to 3 kiddos, have a some weight to loose and just didn’t think I was anything special.)
I have raised my kids to be strong, to be proud, to not let people’s words affect them. To know that they are smart, kind, funny, compassionate, generous, honest and important in this world. I have also told them they are beautiful, handsome and gorgeous. Because they are. But their looks do not define them. What defines’ them is how well they treat others, how kind they are, how generous they are, how understanding and accepting they are.
So when my daughter asked me if men want to marry me because of how they look at me, it made me really think about how women in our country are still treated despite the smaller gap in gender equality.
Women are never going to be equal to men and men never equal to women. Without each other we would not exist. I’m ok with that. What I am not ok with is being eye candy, being sexualized because of being a woman and how I look. I am not OK with my daughter, who is 7, to notice men starring at me.
So when assholes say “Why is there a need for women’s day, what about men’s day?” It’s because of dinks like you who stare of me, despite being with my daughter, with your creepy eyes and your complete ignorance to what women deal with on a daily basis, just for being born a woman.
We need women’s’ day because women are still being raped and having their genitals mutilated around the world – (so men can still rape women, marry 13 year old girls and fuck whoever they want, when they want because they are men, but women are getting their genitals cut off because men think it’s ok??) . We need women’s day because families are afraid to send their girls to school out of fear of being kidnapped. We need women’s day because women are being murdered for just being a woman. We need women’s day because women are killing themselves because there is no other way to escape their terrible lives. We need women’s day because female literacy rates are on the decline. We need women’s day because some men still talk about doing whatever they want to women and getting away with it.
We need women’s day because my 7 year old should be thinking about my little pony, focusing on her math skills, creating art, playing soccer, NOT about how men look at her Mom.