What Women's Day Means to Me

2013-08-09 12:20

In all honesty, I am not really one for commercialized, annual celebrations, even if they are kindly meant to glorify my gender. However I will always respect and admire how our female ancestors throughout the globe fought to ensure that my generation reap the benefits of having our free will and rights acknowledged.

Still I refuse to narrow my recognition of female struggles and triumphs to just a few allotted dates in the calendar.

Every day I am alive is women’s day - minus the patronizing, knock-off sales at various, “womanly”, retail outlets – because as a woman who has her own best interests at heart, I strive to keep myself fulfilled and satisfied, regardless of what my family or society may expect from me.

“Yay, it’s our day ladies! Make sure you spoil yourself rotten and keep away from the kitchen!”

When I see a torrent of comments such as the one above, my face cannot help but drop into my palm.

Perhaps I have taken such joyful sentiments out of context, and yes it's all good and well to celebrate who we are. Still it saddens me to see how so many women buy into the commercial bullshit. I consider such appeasements to be the equivalent of financial settlements which have been exchanged for silence and compliance.

I'll be the first to admit that it is definately easier to bask in luxury, depend on knights in shining armour, and avoid confrontation of injustice. Unfortunately I've never comfortably assumed the role of damsel-in-distress, or been good at keeping my mouth shut.

Why is it that we tend to use one day out of the year to to indulge in the stereotypical, materialistic, and superficial perks of being a woman, whilst ignoring the deeper issues which should be addressed every time we are faced with them?

It is almost as if many of us have forgotten what this day truly commemorates.

This isn't just a day for pampering, cosmetic hand-outs, and collective pats on the back on account of being mere vagina bearers. This day marks the victorious outcome of a struggle, where women fought to demolish an aspect of political injustice. It celebrates these victories whilst encouraging our generation to look forward, and strengthen our position as women.

Sadly many sisters of my generation are too quick to forget what enabled them to enjoy the privileges they take for-granted today. Instead they dismiss feminism as a man-hating institution without acknowledging that they actually owe the bulk of their contemporary lifestyles to feminism.

I blame ignorance for this, but some women choose to be ignorant rather then tackle harsh realities, and that is the problem.

I am encouraged by how far we have come, but that does not mean that I am resigned to quietness and acceptance of where we as women are often pressured to stand in society today.

It baffles me that even though many women have set examples of defiance against traditional gender roles in order to pursue their personal interests, many people still widen their eyes in shock when I tell them that getting hitched and popping out babies is not my primary ambition in life.

Patriarchy is still a force to be reckoned with, especially in areas where religious, historical, and cultural traditions are given higher regard then the rights of humans - women in particular.

We have made great progress throughout the ages, but the battle for equality is certainly not over. This is proven to me when:

A) I am told I shouldn't dress a certain way because I may attract the wrong attention. Whatever someone else may choose to brutally inflict upon my body is ultimately my responsibility, thus making such violent actions justified.

B) When a woman’s decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy,  which is sometimes conceived forcibly against her will, is damned as a crime and prohibited. In these cases there is zero regard for the health and well-being of fully-formed, fully-functioning, human beings; Because hey, us bitches get abortions for kicks right?

C) When women who choose to pursue male-dominated careers get questioned, ridiculed, and ostracised for their efforts.

D) How women are automatically expected to gain custody of their children after divorce. Never mind the fact that some mothers may wish for the choice of whether or not they would like to have their kids only on fun days while daddy exercises "bad-cop" duties every other day of the week.

These are but a few examples which I have personally encountered and witnessed. I would delve into the dark circumstances of more primitive nations, but that could take awhile.

It's frustrating to think that many consider the quest for  gender equality to be so outrageous, when in reality such courtesy toward fellow, human beings should be as common as breathing.

What does this day mean to me? It means resistance against anything which may oppress my right to pursue whatever pleases me. My stance is not limited to just one day of the year, but is very much alive and active every moment of my life.

No amount of pampering will lull me into acceptance of gender inequality.

I refuse to be patronized by people who believe the ladies should have one day or month to celebrate their womanhood, as long as they fall back into a submissive routine every other day of the year. Anyone who expects that of me will be in for a whopping surprise.

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