I have mentioned before, in my other blog, and I say it again everytime someone mentions Women’s History Month or the International Women’s Day: I don’t like it too much. I will expand on why.
I see several problems with these minority-we-ignore-the-rest-of-the-year Months. I do not know exactly how to phrase it eloquently, so bear with me.
The problem, in my opinion, does not lie within the feminist community, not even the unlabelled feminist community (those afraid to call themselves feminists because it is a dirty word in mainstream discourse, but who are by every definition feminists). These are people who celebrate and profoundly consider the role of women all year, these are the people who do not need a Women History Month anyway. And I get how reclaiming one month to ourselves for ourselves is cool too, but activism is not only about re-encountering the same crowd in every feminist event, but hopefully seeing new faces every time.
I am not saying I have the solution for this, because it is a huge problem most activist organizations face – how to get non-believers to believe without selling out in any way.
And for a month, some new faces appear here and there. But – and I have seen this and talked about this with fellow feminists – as if it was a school assignment to attend these events, those new faces disappear for the rest of the year, only to maybe pop out of their cave next March. For a month, or most people actually for a day (March 8th), people take some minutes of their daily routine to think about how awesome women are and how their rights matter – and yes, that is how deep in analysis it goes for most people I have met outside of activist-feminist-social sciences majors worlds. Then they go off and are their usual selves. And they’re not bad people, but they were socialized into sexist roles, sexist attitudes, sexist beliefs. It seems that a day or a month is either not enough, or we are not doing them well enough for them to really matter.
It is almost as if women’s history was a March thing. Women’s history, experiences, rights, needs are an every-day-of-the-year thing. Black History happened and keeps happening every month of every year, not just February. Black people have been reclaiming their rights and their equality every day of every year, not just MLK day. And we – by we I mean everyone who reads this blog and finds some meaning in the words “Women, black people, disabled, non-straight, non-cis people are human beings” – need to get that point across. We need to reclaim our place in formal education, in history classes, in art museums, in every forum where “knowledge” is being communicated. We need to reclaim the mainstream, not merely conform with our familiar faces. We need to admit that as much as empowering women is important, educating men is too, VERY MUCH SO. We need to pay more attention to why many women speak against feminism, how to change that.
Me, I call (even if I sound like a feminist party-pooper bitch) on everyone who congratulates me for being a woman on March 8.
Being a woman (which by the way, what does that even mean? Having XX chromosomes? Having a vagina? Dressing like a girl? Having boobs? Identifying as a “her”? PEOPLE MAKE THE STRANGEST ASSUMPTIONS) in itself is not an achievement. Never giving up our struggle to reclaim what is rightfully ours as human beings, after centuries of oppression, after so much has been and is done to us, now THAT is an achievement.
I don’t need you to congratulate me on the fact that I was not born (or was I? do not make assumptions, cis-dude!) with a penis. I need you to read about our past and our present, to call bullshit on formal education and the media for not including our experiences, to evaluate your privilege, to join my fight. I need you to be next to me in the picket line April 1st, and everyday after that.
Some clarification and extra info:
What ‘cisgender’ is, and a cisgender privilege checklist.
Women’s History Month Activities, History, Timelines, Ideas, Events, Facts & Quizzes. You’d think the achievements and history of half the world population would be a good thing to know about.