It’s International Women’s Day!
“IWD”. At work, I taught a Theatre Studies class – all female. Slightly cynical teens:
“What does it even mean…?”
“It’s a Google doodle…”
“Yeah, Google, thanks for my day…”
I’m a man, yes I am, according to biology, male, as far as our limited stock of gender definitions go… This kind of blogcommentarypost, man talking about talking about women, can be fraught with difficulty, if one thinks about these things. The point of such a day is surely not about what I think about it, really, is it?
No. From an extensive suite of articles related to IWD in the Independent:
International Women’s Day 2014 has the theme ‘inspiring change’ and celebrates the social, political and economic achievements of women, while focusing world attention on areas that still need further action.
IWD, simply, as an opportunity to recognise the often unacknowledged work women do teaching, organising, parenting, sporting, engineering, writing, making music…
Yet inevitably snippets of imagined pub discussions echo round my brain:
“Shouldn’t we be doing this every day anyway?”
“Huh, there’s no International Men’s day, is there?” (Yes, in fact – 19th November.)
“Huh, EVERY day is men’s day.”
“Well, we were all being ground into the dirt by the super rich and their lackeys last time I looked…”
“Anyone fancy a pint?”
Derailment! It’s International Women’s Day. This post is not going to rehearse any sniping about “wimmin”, or heavens help us “feminazis”, for that way lies idiocy.
Nor will it, hopefully, exhibit too many organic beard fluff Neo-Nu-Man, or whatever I’m “supposed” to be being this year, tendencies.
Talking about “inspiring change”, in the UK, the Queen’s New Year Honours List has a higher proportion of female recipients for the first time, 51%. Way to go, Your Majesty. While still in many ways a story of privilege rewarding privilege (checkety check), the high proportion of mentions for charitable or voluntary work is also encouraging.
There is a huge number of ways in which one could talk about the importance of “change” related to women and how fings are in society. Women are still disproportionately represented in politics. In the UK there are currently 147 female MPs, out of a total 650 members of parliament. Half the population, 1% of wealth, as Echobelly once observed.
Or putting up with violent nonsense. In the news today also is “Clare’s Law”, (links to a report in the Indie again). The so-called ‘right to know’, a kind of DBS check for relationships. A social good – or perhaps a further step towards our living in a police state of thoroughly alienated individuals, rather than an empowering measure to protect people from psychotics. The unfortunate Clare Wood was killed by an ex-boyfriend. Regarding physical violence against women, I was glad to have had Kurt Cobain as an influence when I was growing up. He said:
“The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape.”
As to other types of thoughtlessness, non-physical imbecile male actions… well, yeah. Soz. To keep throwing the words of dead male pop singers at you, I’m doing the best that I can (Lennon)…
My hopes for my lover are that she can do what she wants and that I can help her do that in whatever ways. As a father to a female, I hope my daughter will grow up literate, emotionally supported, able to make her own choices, play an equal role in society… design buildings, make hit records, overthrow tyranny… whatever she wants. Not get paid less or be expected to stand in a certain way in a certain place just because chromosomes.
Today, International Women’s Day, I note I have a daughter, the incredible N, and a female partner, the incredible J. They are both the most important thing in the world to me, every day. And word to my mum… and to my sister, and to my aunties, and godmother, and mother-and-sistren-in-law, and my now-departed nan and nana. And every female friend I have… Gosh, there are a lot of you in here. As Freddie Mercury suggested: “Sister – I live and lie for you.”
And on that note: music by women!
Pop songs, my favourite reality filter.
Well, awkward ending… I dunno, are there supposed to be flowers as well? Is that just patronising? Shall I get some wine in then? Awesome. Love you!