Thursday, March 8, 2018

Women's Day?

So, today is International Women's Day. Bah, humbug! Yes, I am a Women's Day scrooge. I usually shy away from issues. What usually happens when anyone, especially someone whose opinions don't fit neatly into any of the approved categories, tries to discuss issues is that people read only the part they hate and totally ignore any qualifiers and disclaimers. But nobody reads this anyway so imagining that I'm going to get trolls is probably flattering myself to the point of pure fantasy. If I did get trolls it would actually be sort of validating, in a way.

Still, I feel like I have to start by saying this: Yes, of course women should be free to live whatever kind of life they want. Yes, women should be doctors and lawyers and college professors and CEO's and whatever else they aspire to and they should be paid the same as men doing the same jobs. We have mostly achieved that in the U.S. Or at least we have achieved the right to sue our employers for discrimination. Of course, trials and other court proceedings are really just contests to see who has the better lawyer but that's a whole 'nother issue.

What we have not achieved is respect. Women are still groped and women are still mansplained to and geeky girls are still bullied for daring to play video games and liking science fiction and superhero comics. In fact, in some ways things are worse now than in the 60s and 70s. Women who work and demand equality are disrespected by men (only some men but way too many) and women who are traditionally feminine are disrespected by more "progressive" women.

Frankly, women who make a point of letting everyone know how much they dislike anything traditionally associated with femininity both amuse and annoy me at the same time. Honey, you're not better than anyone just because you don't like pink. And here we come to the point I was working up to. I often find myself thinking, "I hate what womanhood has become." And I guess this is my fault for being different - for being a throwback. I have always related more to women in my mother's generation and enjoyed hanging out with them more than with my own generation. But those women, at least in my family, have all gone where we all must inevitably go someday.

This is more than just feeling sorry for myself, though I will admit there is some of that; I feel sad for young women and girls for what they have lost and never will know they have lost. And really, I don't even know how to define it myself. I don't want for most women to go back to being housewives who sew and knit and bake cookies but I want that to still be a valid and respectable option. But that's not really the point. Whether housewives or career women there seems to be some quality that is missing from womanhood compared to the way it used to be and that missing quality hasn't really been replaced by anything positive. As I said I don't know how to define it and maybe I really just don't know enough women and maybe I'm missing something.

Of course I know this is not universal. There are always people who don't fit in and people who can't keep up with the times and most are afraid to speak out and demand respect for reasons that would soon become obvious if this blog was much more popular. Also, I don't want to give the impression that I'm seriously bothered by any of this personally. Sure there are times when I sort of miss having compatible female companionship - someone to go to antique shops and fabric stores with or to just hang out with for a while - but I'm enough of an introvert that I truly enjoy alone time and I'm actually glad that I never have to put up with anyone dropping in on me when I'm not in the mood.

As for International Women's Day, I think it is best observed by focusing on the "International" part of it - on those countries where women are still treated as slaves, or in some cases are actual slaves, where women don't have health care or enough food to eat, or clean water, where they would consider the worst situation in the U.S. to be near Heaven. That's what International Women's Day should be about.


  1. The people I work with are amazed to find out that nearly all the shirts I wear at work are handmade by you.

    1. I shouldn't have read this comment first thing in the morning. It confused me at first.

      This is one of the things that frustrates me though - people being SO surprised that I sew. Yeah, I'm flattered that they're impressed but also annoyed that sewing is seen as something unusual.

    2. Perhaps that's another reason for me to knit while invigilating exams and the like: it makes it more obvious that "hey people do this"

      I also get annoyed in that a lot of the "older" women (at church and AAUW) seem surprised that I know how to cook and like to cook. Just because I'm single doesn't mean I eat frozen dinners all the time! In fact, with my allergies and sodium restriction, it's a darn good thing I learned to cook (and to like cooking) when I was serves me well now.