Happy International Women’s Day!

Today, as you may or may not know, is International Women’s Day. Which of course we don’t celebrate in America, but if you were a woman living in China you’d have the half the day off.  see also:  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, where it is an official holiday [according to wikipedia].

This year the UN theme topic is “Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls.” which is FABULOUS. Especially when rape is used as a weapon in times of war, and when women still are battered and abused around the world. but lest we all start patting ourselves on the back and congratulating ourselves on a job well done, on equality well reached, there are a few really timely news stories that are making me grit my teeth today. Here you go! Enjoy the “holiday!”

  • Salon.com ran a story this week about the incredibly horrific number of rapes that are happening in Iraq – only we’re not talking Iraqii’s here (which is horrible enough), we’re talking American women serving alongside men who rape them. Did you know that the Military has accepted rapes as status quo to the point where if you’re raped, they don’t even try to argue you out of your PTSD, they just start paying for treatment? Which they totally should, don’t get me wrong. But what about, you know, STOPPING THE RAPES?
  • I heard about this on Marketplace (NPR) this weekend, but came across a newspaper story today. The Washington Post reports that young, brilliant, scholarly law students who happen to be female are not getting job offers. The reason? there is a nasty disgusting message board out there where men slander these women. They log in and impersonate them. They rate them on looks. they post their personal information, including phone numbers and addresses. And employers may google search the candidates names and find this board, and be disinclined to give them a job. There is very little recourse for a woman in this situation. Tell me: when does it cross the line from a bunch of jerks online to a stalking and abuse situation? like, legally? because honestly, where do people get off being so hateful to women? it’s not personal, they are like this to ANY women. why is it ok to hate women? There’s more response and detail here.
  • Another less horrifying and slightly more ironic highlight for International Women’s Day: scroll down on this post to see what comic “Crock” ran today. Veeery timely and apropo.

I realize that this may sound awfully angry and bitter. you know what, though? I AM awfully angry and bitter. I am so frustrated about this whole cultural hatred of women that is seemingly acceptable. I’m frustrated that coworkers STILL conduct business in strip-clubs, and that the word “slut” is still a powerful insult thrown at women. Where the heck is the respect? where is the being treated as equals? International Women’s Day has been around for nearly 100 years, and we’re still demonized for making decisions that make “society” uncomfortable? 

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again. THIS is why feminism is still relevant. We should ALL be angry – furious, even – about these things. Because this is holding us back. This is one of the things that is preventing all of us, women and men, from reaching our full potential. This is just plain awful.

Yeah. Happy International Women’s Day, indeed. /gritting of teeth.