Facebook and several other websites have reminded me multiple times that today is International Women’s Day. I consider myself proudly and unabashedly feminist, but I just can’t get into hoorah-girl-power days like this one. Maybe the vagina-hat-wearing jackasses ruined it for me (damnit, they’re the reason we can’t have nice things). Nah, that’s not it. I never liked things like International Women’s Day.
I know a few women who strutted their emblazoned shirts and female-reproductive-organ outfits for the Women’s March last year, and they force-fed us their minute-by-minute updates via Facebook as if they were goodwill ambassadors on a life-saving world tour. It just made me sad. What a humongous clog of women who just don’t get it.
I don’t reserve one day per year to stand up for myself. Something I noticed about the women I personally know who devour crap like the Women’s March and International Women’s Day and the god-awful #metoo bullshit: they tend to be the type of people who talk a lot of smack but don’t deliver much, if any, action. They tend to be the women constantly posting links, articles, expressing their outrage over something, but if confronted with injustice directly, will meekly cow down, then explode later to their friends, who coo about how sorry they are that she had to endure that, I’m always here to listen, and other mostly meaningless, trite words. They also tend to be self-proclaimed wounded animals who publicly howl every slight inflicted upon them by society, by this vicious, cruel world, even when no one asked (or cares).
Every day is the day to make the world a better place. You will have greater impact on this world by the actions and choices you make each day than you will by parading about in an asinine hat, shouting as you march, or posing with a sign scribbled in black Sharpie. I hate worthless gestures. Do, damnit, don’t just posture.
What do I mean by that? I mean that when I was sexually harassed at work, I told the obnoxious pig to back off, never speak to me that way again, and detailed exactly what would happen to him if he did. I didn’t put up with it like a shrinking, delicate flower, then wait 20 years to “bravely” reveal what happened to helpless little ol’ me. I mean that when I found out I was being paid less than co-workers with equal training and experience, I immediately talked directly to a supervisor. I mean that when another company tried to institute a sexist dress code that required pantyhose and skirts for women while men strolled casually about in hoodies and khakis, I was the only woman to march that day, straight into Human Resource’s office to deliver my speech on why the new policy was pure crap. No other woman I asked, in a huge company of mostly female employees, was willing to accompany me to that meeting, but every woman there benefited when the policy was ultimately struck down.
If you are like the women who hid in their cubicles and let someone else fight their battle while I single-handedly confronted an entire corporate HR department, then we are unlikely to get along. If you would have walked with me, carrying your own notes, and refused to not be a dog in that fight, I imagine we’d find a lot in common.
Wearing slogan t-shirts is worthless. Marches, hats, holidays, Facebook posts, Twitter chatter, ribbons, hashtags, all of that is nothing but empty gestures in place of definitive action. Want to make a change? Pay attention to what you do every day. What do you put up with? What kind of example are you setting for your children about how to handle themselves, and what kind of example are you setting for your sons and daughters about how to treat others?
I have no patience for the wannabe warriors who won’t speak up, won’t stand up, in day-to-day life, but fancy that marching with a horde of like-minded and misguided individuals makes up for it. I don’t delude myself that sexism doesn’t exist, but I don’t believe for one second that the solution is presenting myself as a daft and idiotic featherbrain parading about in public with a vagina hat, or that hashtagging is anything but irritating.
With three brothers, two stepsons, and a husband, I also don’t pretend that sexism is not alive and well when it comes to men, particularly regarding raising children and the illustrious so-called family court. If so many people supposedly believe devoutly in equality, why are our family courts still operating with Victorian, one-sided standards?
So spare me the parades, marches, and international days of anything. Nothing changes with token gestures that ultimately don’t mean a damn thing. Show the world what you want and what you stand for; don’t just talk and post about it. How you conduct yourself each day, how you handle yourself, how you interact with others, and what you teach your children by your example will leave a much deeper and much longer lasting impression.