Lady Liberty knows what's up. I, however, failed bigly at #ADayWithoutAWoman.
My husband had to leave at 6:30 am for a meeting so I was solo drill sergeant this morning. Then I had to take both kids to the doctor. I didn’t boycott work, unless showing up at lunch counts. I have to finish ten hours of work in half the time, before attending a board meeting at 6. Then I have to rush home to hastily feed and bathe the rugrats and listen enthusiastically to really, really long, meandering stories devoid of plot or, apparently, resolution, about their days (so weird, I have no idea who they get that from ;)) Then I'll read books in a chipper, animated voice and pretend I’m not counting the minutes until they fall asleep. I basically spent my whole day doing all the types of things that moms and wives and women do most waking moments of their lives, with little compensation or recognition.
I wore red, though. So there’s that.
I was totally gung-ho for the Women's March, but I felt more ambivalent about “A Day Without A Woman.” It seemed to me that the most vulnerable women among us are not in a position to strike, even for a day, so it feels a little like we’re missing the point? It’s also not as effective if only some people participate. But how incredible would it be if ALL women really did refuse to work today? As a coworker said, "Our office would cease to function." Hell, the WORLD would cease to function. And that's kind of the point. But unfortunately, that's not terribly practical or feasible. Can you imagine though? If nary a woman was to be found? That would really be something else.
Short of turning the world upside-down, there’s something to be said about being visible, making our voices heard, raising consciousness, making people at least consider what a state the world would be in without the work that women do, day in and day out, morning and night, at home and at school and at the office and at the hospital and at the church and in the kitchen and at the construction site and in the sea and in the sky…. Women fuel the world. We might not be as loud and showy as the engine, but without us, you are going nowhere.
There’s also something to be said for standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Me? I'm doing alright. I'm white. I'm not poor. I live in California. I work for a law firm founded and run by a woman. My commitments to my family are honored and respected. I am paid at a rate commensurate with my male colleagues. I make more money than my husband, in fact.
And speaking of said husband, he takes on more or less an equal share of the unpaid work at home – the kids, the dogs, the house, the dishes and laundry, breakfasts lunches and dinners, the family taxi service, all of it. (You want to know the really messed up part? I catch myself feeling guilty about this. “He does so much! He probably resents me for it.” I wrote a whole post about this once. And the reality check my friend promptly gave me. She handed me a pen and a piece of paper and told me to write down the things I do vs. the things Daddy Mack does. He does half-ish. On a good day. So why do I feel bad?! Like I’m not fulfilling my wiferly duties or something? Buncha BS, that is! I kind of suck at feministing.) The sad thing is, with our 50/50 split, he does more than almost every other man I know.
ANYWAY. The point is. Just because I am a woman and I have it pretty good doesn’t mean women have achieved perfect parity in our society. Far from it.
These are just some of the reasons I resist, and why I will continue to do so:
Because women and men are still not equal. Because America, and the world, are not always safe places for women, particularly queer women and women of color. Because strangers on the street tell me I’d look a lot prettier if I smiled. Because all my life men have told me I should dress/act/speak more like a lady. Because men have told me to "watch my mouth." Because judges and other old white male lawyers tell my I’m too young, too pretty, too sweet to be a lawyer. Because male employers and coworkers have critiqued my looks and my body behind my back, and to my face. Because each achievement in my life has been accompanied with loud whispers of, "Wonder what, or rather who, she did to get that grade/internship/promotion?" Because I've been grabbed by the pussy. By the tits and ass too. I think I was 13 years old the first time.
Because this Administration has reinstated the Global Gag Rule, a spiteful GOP legacy that prevents millions of vulnerable girls and women in Africa and around the world from accessing birth control and family planning, HIV services, and child and maternal health care.
Because SwampCare deems maternity coverage "optional," and includes a provision that will defund Planned Parenthood. I, personally, fully and unabashedly support abortion. But even if you don’t. Since 1973, the Helms and Hyde amendments prevent the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. So what you’re really defunding is birth control for two million people, 4 million STD tests, 360,000 breast exams, 270,000 pap tests, and more.
Because there is no evidence that blocking access to abortion reduces the number of abortions. What it does do is increase the number of pregnancy-related deaths – up to double. I don’t know what kind of new math they're using, but this is where your pro-life argument starts to take on water.
Because gender discrimination is prevalent in elementary education and beyond. Teachers call on boys more often, ask them more difficult questions, give them more feedback. Teachers actually fail to notice girls raise their hands as often. When teachers do call on female students, their interactions are more likely to involve social, non-academic subjects. Teachers more often choose boys to lead groups, give demonstrations, or help with an experiment. The proportion of attention given to male students increases from elementary to junior and then high school. Teachers also favor boys in their nonverbal behavior, including head nodding and encouraging smiles. Similar trends are shown along color lines as well.
Because women are paid 80 cents on the dollar for equal work. The disparity is even greater for women of color. It’s worse for mothers too. (Yes, yes, I hear you terrible twitter trolls saying men just work harder. A) Fuck you. B) Maybe if you pulled your weight at home, your partner would be able to get ahead at work. It ain’t rocket science.)
Because women represent a disproportionate percentage of the people in poverty.
Because women perform a disproportionate amount of unpaid labor, including household and child-rearing duties, despite the fact that in the vast majority of two-parent families, both parents work.
Because voter suppression efforts disproportionately target women, students, and people of color.
Because women of color are negatively affected at much higher rates by police violence and mass incarceration (themselves, their families, and their communities).
Because women are much more likely to be victims of domestic violence – 85% of victims are women. This includes physical, emotional, and financial abuse.
Because one in three women experience physical or sexual violence in their lives.
Because Muslim women, women of color, and the LGBTQ community are particularly vulnerable to discrimination in housing, employment, and healthcare. They are the victims of hate crimes at increasingly alarming rate. Transgender women of color especially are disproportionately affected by fatal violence.
Because when I tell my daughter and my son the above and they ask, “How can we make it better?” I want to do more than shrug. I want to put my money, my time, and my heart, where my mouth is. Because passion without action is just observation. In the words of the great Angela Davis, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
Yet again, the internets seem to have earned their scout’s badge in panty-knotting. Why people get so incensed over the actions of complete strangers that have no effect on them whatsoever is completely beyond me. If you don’t agree with the strike, then, hey, here's an idea: DON'T STRIKE. But don’t you dare tell me “women are already equal” and there’s nothing worth fighting for.
“I believe in the fire of love and the sweat of truth.” Assata Shakur
PS Sorry I didn't source this for you like I usually do. Click here for assistance ;)