International Women’s Day this year was kind of a shit show. Jess McAllen summed up a few of the reasons why. For me, this story is single most important thing to come out of IWD2016.
International Women’s Day is many things. A time to celebrate women, to appreciate how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and acknowledge loudly how far we have to go. To educate ourselves, (not necessarily others), to share, to give thanks for and love to the amazing women in our lives.
So why do we end up spending so fucking much of it talking about men? Defending ourselves to men? Listening to men?
Stop. This is not how it is supposed to be. Go back. Let’s start again.
The single most important thing men can do on International Women’s Day (and every day) is listen to women. And so many failed at even this basic task. They talked over us, disagreed with us, tried to tell us our own lived experiences were false, and tried to dictate what we could and couldn’t do with our bodies.
Here’s some quick facts, since y’all seem so obsessed with them:
“i think it’s funny how men use myths of female inadequacy to cover for their own shortcomings.
like how women are supposed to be horrible drivers, when four out of five serious or fatal crashes in new york are caused by male drivers and research shows that young men (18-24) have a tendency to take high risks, over-evaluate their driving skill and disrespect the rules.
or how “women are stupid”, especially with regards to the debate of the wage gap, where men often claim that women earn less because they are less capable, when there are more women studying in higher educations, women are less likely to drop out of higher educations and are more likely to end up with a better degree than men.
or how men claim that women talk too much, when research shows that men talk 65% of the time within the family and are more likely to talk in long monologues, whereas women more often offer commentary. Men also are more likely to interrupt; in fact, during a political debate, the former (female) minister of state in denmark was criticized in the media and made fun of for interrupting the current (male) minister of state too often – study found that he had interrupted her 28 times, whereas she only interrupted him 13 times.”
The story I linked in the intro, Three Days in a Lifetime of Being a Woman, is a detailed and painful account of a woman’s lived experiences. Just three days out of her life, one of which was International Women’s Day. During those days, she goes through a bunch of shit that nearly all of us have gone or will go through at some point in our lives. I cried reading it because of the familiarity, and also because of the almost matter-of-fact tone, despite the tragedy being described. Because this is how it is for women. You can’t fucking argue with this. She’s literally saying, here is what happened to me. This is it.
As I said. To me, it’s the single most important piece of writing to come out of IWD, because of how brutally real it is. Everyone I know should read it. And read it again. And accept that this is shit many many many women go through, and we suck it up and keep going, because we have other women to support us, and that’s just what we do.
Finally. To dudes who think they’re being clever by saying “So when’s International Men’s Day?”
– It’s November 19
– You’re not funny. This is not a new question. We have heard it a million times.
– THAT’S NOT THE FUCKING POINT. EVERY OTHER DAY IS YOUR DAY. G.T.F.O.
Thanks for the link to the ‘three days’ piece. Truly difficult account of the challenges that women face and men can only attempt to understand.
As a society and as humans, there is no doubt we have come some way but have so far to go. As a mid-30s male, I can assure you that none of the men I know think women are stupid, bad drivers or talkers. We might not be typical men but I do hope we are the start of the fundamental changes we need to make in order to see true gender equality (or equity really). As a father with two young daughters, I hope that we get there sooner rather than later.
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