Today is International Women’s Day which used to be accompanied with marches & banners but is now just a commemoration that needs to be restored to former glory. The UN is trying to co-opt this day from its radical origins & turn it into just another Hallmark moment. They held a rally yesterday at the UN with such celebrities as Naomi Campbell, notorious for abusing her maids, & Hillary Clinton, always just one step away from a war crimes tribunal. Even Forbes magazine, the voice box for US capitalism, is celebrating “women’s empowerment.” This little band-wagon is a scam that should be eschewed with contempt.
To take back our day, we should tip our bonnets & baseball caps to the remarkable women who made history last year to little fanfare: the women of the Arab uprisings taking on tyranny; the Mayan women of Guatemala standing up against genocide; Palestinian women defying the military arsenal of Israel; the garment workers of Bangladesh & Cambodia taking on sweatshop capitalism; the mothers of Bhopal, India taking on plunder by Dow Chemical; the Guarani & other Indigenous women of Brazil standing up against neoliberalism–& so many, many others, all of them against all odds.
Those privileged cry-babies spewing out jeremiads about the future of humankind & the possibilities for social transformation need to pull their noses out of their navels & look to the women defying injustice as teachers, as models of intransigence, & as leaders. There will be no social change without women in the leadership & it’s not rude but truth to say that’s because women do a good share of the work & get least of the credit. But then grandstanding is not what it’s all about.
I also personally want to tip my bonnet to the wonderful women I know in my life. There are always new studies reported about the insufficiencies of our gender: the latest say we’re not often serial killers but when we are, we’re more vicious; girls bullying girls is hot news generating a whole new trend in fiction. I particularly am not fond of having women’s political commentary called rants or tirades or fulminations or having women demeaned in comments. And I detest the endless putdowns women have to endure around beauty & weight & aging.
So let me say, that I’m either the luckiest woman alive & meet only the best of women or there’s a problem with misogyny in our society–because most of the women I know could not be more beautiful, intelligent, informed, considerate, kind, hilarious, companionable, remarkable. And I’m not fool enough to like all I’ve met; the snobs still yank my chain.
So a tip of the bonnet, sisters. It’s so good to know you. Happy International Women’s Day.