Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women and all the amazing things that we do. I would argue that every day should celebrate women, but let’s not get started…
It’s also A Day Without A Woman, a sign of peaceful protest to show society just what it would look like if we weren’t around. For those of us who can take the day off, we’re marching and attending rallies across the country. For those who can’t, we’re wearing red and white to the office. All of us can make a point to shop and support female-owned businesses, and to lift another woman up today.
If I may, I’d like to offer some thoughts to all of us women, regardless of who we are, what we do, where we are in life, and how we think days like this affect us:
- Being empowered as a woman makes us no less feminine – I’ve seen a lot of feminist vs. feminine bashing going on lately, and I’d like to ask for all of us to put these weapons down. Fighting each other is merely a distraction from the bigger task at hand, which is equal rights over our bodies, our worth, and our lives. We can kick ass in a dress and lipstick just as easily as we can in jeans and a t-shirt.
- Minority women have a different experience that we must honor – Listen, folks: being a minority adds a layer of persecution and complexity on top of gender. Black, Latinax, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, disabled, I’d argue fat applies here – these labels mean you’ve experienced judgment not just as a woman but as a “____” woman, which cuts to the soul, and eventually leaves scar tissue that never properly heals, particularly when that experience is diminished by another woman. Don’t get defensive; get informed.
- End shaming – Body shaming, slut shaming —we REALLY need to work on this, ladies. The patriarchy depends upon our continual use of these tools to destroy women on a soul level. Think hard before you say something about another woman. Think hard before you start trolling and hating on someone. It says something about you as a person. Work on yourself before you cast stones.
- Trans women are women – We can argue birth vs. spirit all day long, but inevitably it comes down to what you know in your soul about who you are. I will say this for the record: trans people are people, and trans women are women. They are welcome here with me, on this site, in my life, and in this world. They march for us, they fight for us, they need our help, and we should give it. Pre-op, post-op, no op — I see you, and I support you.
- Your life choices don’t make you any less feminist –Half my friends are stay-at-home moms with children, the other half are working women; some have kids, some don’t. Whether you’re married, divorced, never married, want kids, don’t want kids, want kids but don’t have them, religious, spiritual, Atheist — you do you. We get further together as a community than we do segmented by how we feel most comfortable. There’s room for all of us at the top, but we have a long way to go.
- That said, don’t push your life choices off on other women – Here’s the kicker: everyone has the right to do and be whatever they want, which means you don’t get to tell other women what to do with their lives, their bodies, and themselves. I’ll say this again: quit shaming other women. No one reaches the high ground of moral superiority on the bodies and backs of all the women they took out. Stand your ground for your beliefs and how they affect you, but leave other people in peace.
- Help other women – We say this a lot, but do we do anything about it? There are women in domestic violence situations and abusive homes, homeless women who don’t have homes or menstrual pads or tampons or anything else, hungry women trying to feed their children, little kids discovering themselves who need guidance and safety, girls and women being bullied, mothers trying to make the best decisions for themselves and their families, older women figuring out what’s next, older women who are suddenly alone and in need of company, women dying in childbirth in other nations, women who can’t afford parental leave, women who need medical assistance, women who need another woman to just SMILE at them today or to say their name, etc. As you can see, we have a lot of women who need help, so in addition to marching, we should take time every day to see what we can do for those who need us most.
- You matter – As women, we’re natural givers. We forget about ourselves. Part of celebrating today is also remembering what you need out of life. When was the last time you took a nap? Watched a movie by yourself? Took a nap? Had an orgasm? Read a book? Laughed until your stomach hurt? Felt safe? Felt happy? Felt valued? Were paid what you’re worth? Your happiness matters. That’s what we’re fighting for. You owe it to yourselves and the young women watching us to see what fulfilled, happy women can do for the world.
- No one is exempt – Women’s Rights means all women, whether they recognize it or not. The fact that you can make your own decisions for yourself, have a choice of whether or not to work, vote, drive a car, have kids or not have kids, can speak your mind without being hit or spanked, have rights to your body, can use birth control or not use it, pray, dress the way you want, eat what you want, love who you want or not love anyone, and essentially wake up every morning to make your own decisions is on the backs of the millions of other women who fought for those rights. We must fight to keep them; nothing is guaranteed in this life. No woman is exempt from this fight; like it or not, we’re all in this together.
- It’s about love – Inevitably, this is about loving ourselves enough to the point where we demand everyone treat us as well as — or BETTER — than we treat ourselves. We deserve to be heard, loved, respected, empowered, and living our lives out loud. We are the most powerful force on earth and we deserve respect. So, if no one has told you this today, I’ll say it: I love you. I really do. I love you because you’re here, and you’re on your way to becoming whole. Now, take that love and go love another woman today, and then maybe she’ll go love someone else. With any luck, the intensity of that love will remind us that we are worthy, we are powerful, we are here…and we’re not going anywhere.