It’s International Women’s Day but I find it hard to get excited about an occasion that highlights our inherent difference from the other half of the global population. There’s no International Day of the Guy because every day belongs to men. Not to put you down, brothers, but you don’t know jill about oppression.
I’m typing this from my sick bed while keeping half an eye on the news. I say news but it isn’t really. It seems like TV is re-running footage that is decades old. In North America our hard won rights are being clawed out of our hands. Are we really having a public debate about contraception? Well, no, I’m in Canada and we’re not but we’re constantly bombarded by the over the border hysteria and I just hope that shit isn’t contagious because I for one need medical care for my lady parts. Fuck that, all women need care for their reproductive systems. You know how complicated that stuff is? Take a look at a diagram sometime. If one microscopic thing goes out of whack in there a woman can literally die. Die dead die. So trying to block access to reproductive health care is a soft way of saying it’s OK to kill women. Don’t be so chicken shit, you douchebags! It’s like this cultural desire to erase women or to repess them back into silence is disguised in the health care debate. Stop pretending you give a crap about birth control or abortions and just man up and say you want women to shut the fuck up and go away. Permanently. Six feet under.
And the name-calling! I think it’s been a while since Rush Limbaugh stirred the pot like this. He must be creaming his slacks. When I was in college I would sometimes listen to Rush for the same cheap fear thrill that horror movie fans seek. I seem to recall Rush calling all kinds of women all kinds of names on a daily basis. He probably cries himself to sleep all nostalgic for those good times.
And all this just in North America where we’re lucky. We get to go to school and have jobs and move freely in public. We don’t get our genitals mutilated, we aren’t gang raped by invading military forces, we aren’t forced into marriage before we’re old enough to menstruate and we aren’t tortured and killed for dishonoring the family name if we happen to be victims of sexual assault. Usually.
I suppose setting aside a day to highlight gender inequality around the globe is a good thing, as depressing as it is to understand the full scale of that inequality. It is systemic, world wide and deeply entrenched. I don’t know why it’s a crime to be born a woman. I don’t know why it’s acceptable to think half of the world’s population should be treated like shit because they have ovaries. At what point does someone decide that a woman is less than? At what point does someone rationalize to themselves that exploiting, assaulting and dehumanizing a woman is not just ok, but a good deed for society?
There are weeks I can’t bear to read the newspapers. Not a single day goes by without a report of a woman being hurt or killed. If you’ve ever seen a woman right after her partner has beat her almost to death, it’s difficult not to feel a visceral connection to the stories in the news. If you’ve ever been raped, or assaulted, or had to take your friend to the hospital or hide her because her boyfriend was going to kill her, if your dad or step dad beat up your mother or sister, if you were raped by your brother or your uncle or your teacher…it’s really fucking hard to read and hear these stories day after day after day.