08 March 2007

It's International Women's Day

Yay. We get a whole day. Men get 364 days, but we can celebrate our day. I think I'll treat myself to some chocolate and red wine through a straw. But first, I'm going to Blog Against Sexism.

A group on my campus (I can't remember who) gave out long stem roses to all of the female faculty and staff. Which was nice, but wasteful and ineffective. (Neither I nor my assistant took one, just because we're crazy feminist bitchez like that.) I hear that there was a coffee and dessert table in the campus commons for the female employees, as well.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to have social events with other women. There's a women's faculty group on campus that has great socials off campus, and I always try to go. It's important for women to be free of constraints like caretaking, leering men, feminine speech and manners. We need to be as honest and personal as we feel necessary, which is only comfortable around other women.

I'm just disappointed that roses, dessert and coffee were the only programming. It felt almost like a bribe, "We'll give you some sugar and caffeine, so you can't complain we didn't do anything for IWD!" Where are the poetry slams? The art exhibits? The feminist theory discussion groups? The rallies? This is the perfect day to expose people to the real lives of women, and the real hardships we face as we navigate the workplace while raising our children and husbands, as legislators try to deny us the right to our own bodily autonomy. (I've always said that no man I know could ever be a woman for even a day!)

Many people say that feminism is over, sexism doesn't exist at all. Fuck that. Sure, we're "legally" equal to men, but we still have lots of tiny revolutions left. Shakes Sis had a great post today, and this passage sums it up perfectly:
That we've (mostly) achieved equality under the law and some semblance of sexual liberation doesn't mean sexism is, like, so over. It means that those were the easiest things to accomplish.

The rest is a fuckload harder.

Compared to, for example, eradicating all use of feminine terms to convey weakness, fear, vapidity, or other negative qualities, changing the law so that women can't be fired just for being women was like waving a magic fucking wand—and that's the reality of battling sexism that too many people fail to see. The really endemic, intrinsic sexism expressed in a million "little" ways is what perpetuates inequality—the kind of inequality that makes some guy at the hardware store talk to me like a three-year-old imbecile, but talk to Mr. Shakes like an equal.
And to all the men who accuse feminists of being too hung up on the "little battles" rather than the big ones, I say this: try having your ass grabbed, or getting winked at by your boss, or told to make a pot of coffee by one of your colleagues. Try watching your male colleagues get grant money and promotions more than you, but do half the work. Try having complete strangers order you to smile as you stumble through the last part of your day, in a haze because you've worked 9 hours with no lunch break and have to do some errands before you finally get to go home, just to have more shit to do before you can relax. If you can relax. Try having your government try to punish you for having sex.

Just try it.

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