International Women’s Day is a bunch of bollocks. Yep, I said it. I’m a feminist and I said it.
TBH, I even forgot that’s what today was. It’s the day where females become the lead story in the media, where Facebook frames are changed to reflect the official Women’s Day logo or hashtag, and where conversations all turn to how we as a society can progress the epic battle for gender equality.
To be clear, I didn’t just forget about today’s ‘celebrations’ because I don’t own a calendar. It skipped my mind because it’s stupid. It’s a farce. Like Pride month, it’s been hijacked by companies looking for more sales from the inclusivity crowd and has stopped meaning anything at all.
If International Women’s Day meant anything then the world would better reflect that. We’d already live in a society where the default person wasn’t white, male, straight, and middle class, and where any deviation from that standard is… well… deviant!
So whilst I was vaguely aware that this day existed, I didn’t know that it had a theme – #BreakTheBias. Sounds pretty cool, right? I thought so. Well, that is until I started reading what was being suggested for women and by women to help us break the bias of gender…
I read about a nurse who did CrossFit. She was planning to break the bias by empowering herself to show that her job shouldn’t stand in the way of looking after herself. In my opinion, her time would be better spent demanding that the gender gap in hours and pay in nursing be fixed.
A sports and exercise medicine consultant was attempting to break the bias by ensuring that women have access to specialist sports medical care and that doctors were educated in supporting their female clients. Whereas surely demanding that women are as equally represented as men in the clinical exercise science thereby fixing her industry’s vast gender data gap would be more effective?
Gyms were all for encouraging more women to work out by pointing out the stats which show very few of them hit recommended activity levels. But oddly, they did nothing to call out the discriminatory fitness industry which intimidates women. Nor did any of them highlight the fact that women have less free time or disposable income than men to exercise anyway.
Personal trainers were telling women to get themselves a programme and learn to prioritise their own wellbeing instead of loudly opposing a fat loss industry which is sexist to its very core.
And I read interviews from football players who were fighting for football to be a space where everyone feels like they belong. Yet they missed the opportunity to talk about the huge differences in pay, media coverage, and grass-root opportunities that exist for women in sport.
It’s fair to say that International Women’s Day has left me feeling sad.
I’m gutted that instead of any attempts to actually FIX the inequalities that exist in society, we are happy to put the blame on women and ignore the systemic barriers to change. Why would men (and women – because we all know that women are gaslit into their own oppression) feel as if they have to fix anything when we can simply say the problem is that women are a little bit shitter than men, and should probably just try harder.
Does this remind anyone else of “women should dress more conservatively” rather than “let’s make sure zero men are rapey bastards”?
So, you can fuck off with your special day of supporting women, until the world steps up and creates equality for real, instead of continuing to quietly support the societal bias that exists by doing nothing.
A Facebook post with a hashtag ain’t gonna cut it if we want real change. Real change will come when we demand better and stop supporting the systemic problems which uphold the idea that men are the default gender.