Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Woman's Day: What Am I Expecting From A Day?

I actually remember last year when I wrote a blog on International Woman's Day where I truly reflected on a woman's strength, be it the force she's actually reckoned with or her use of coercion and other hidden "talents" most women have. What a difference a year makes, right? Back then, being the badass bitch was a survival mechanism whereas now I quite enjoy being as tender of a flower as I can be. Today, one year later, I have found that my view on women was challenged like it never has in the past year. Hillary lost, I returned to a casually sexist continent and I was quite literally refused my dream job because I was sitting opposite chauvinists in the interview. One can say I have an opinion on the matter. Yet, today I realized how wrong the association we have with the day, the matter or the term in itself is. And I truly had to ask myself the questions: where do I want to see this go? Where am I on the matter? And, most importantly, is there a point to it? Spoiler Alert: I'm not about to empower women, I'm mainly just trying to understand why we aren't just all agreeing on high fiving all women all the days of our life...

To elaborate on my experience today I should elaborate myself. IWD is a great occasion for me! I didn't really think of the possibility to land some recognition on this particular day, but I approve of a day that recognizes the importance of an entire gender in society. I may joke about this being my day of honor but no woman genuinely feels like it's a day we go on the hunt for compliments, doors being opened or some flowers. What does become evident is that on 364 days a year, the world, including its women, do not think of the reality that our lives aren't balanced and that we are still struggling with prejudice that can make a real difference in our life. I am truly, whole-heartedly privileged and don't feel like I get to complain about my disadvantages because I haven't had that many in my life. However, those I did have would not have occurred if I was born as a man. And that in itself does not deserve pity, but maybe a minute or two to think about.

I am a little concerned I come off as one of those woman that is fighting with a hammer for women's rights. They aren't wrong, but it's a fight for human beings, and I'd do the same for men, children and other minorities. Just because I belong to this one, I may have a bit more fire in it but that does not mean my daily life has to be dominated by feminism. I'm not aggressive. I'm not demanding a change. I casually experience how the term "feminism "is misinterpreted, and every person who's ever thought about it knows what I mean.  I want equality. That does not contradict being weaker when carrying a heavy object, or appreciating a door to be held, or wanting to be naked on the cover of a magazine. And wanting that equality does not mean I have to underline my achievements at all time or belittle those who don't have them, especially men. That there is a negative connotation to a term that essentially means I feel like I should be given the same chance as a man is outrageous.

I found myself talking to my ex-boyfriend from a few years ago the other day as we revisited our relationship. I was called a manipulator in this friendly conversation and the man was right: I had completely used the full toolkit of being a woman to make this guy be a good boyfriend. Apologies were in order, and I realized the fallacy I had committed. If I NEED to use my gender toolkit to make something right, it isn't. That behavior is the opposite of equality, and I feel bad. And after all, this guy wished women a happy IWD today and appears to at least try to make an effort being respectful to women nowadays. A man does not need to understand the struggle of a woman because he can't. Even for women like me, who has never felt like I was disadvantaged although I know I was, the nicest feeling would be to just be myself and not fearing it would be received in a certain way because of my gender, never mind my stance on equality.  My colleague was cutting a tough, mature cheddar for me today, laughing about the fact that I wasn't able to do it on a day like today, and I will never, even on the day of complete equality, not ask for help with cutting my cheese. And I will forever appreciate being considered, even if just by having the door held. Because everyone, man or woman, would.

It goes as far as seeing feminists and actually thinking "oh dear, I hope that doesn't give off the wrong impression" for me. I am aware that demanding equality is a long process that doesn't happen on a day like today, but stirring a conversation has got to be a good thing. I also understand that after the whole perception this whole issue gets many feel like rolling their eyes. What it actually left me with today is insecurity. I am between actually believing that an effort from a man to get to know a woman as a person, asking her a question once in a while, sending her a smile and giving her the feeling she is liked, maybe even appreciated, would make me feel great and appearing like a hypocrite because I believe that as a "feminist". There are many men out there I know who are unaware that they might have a objectified, if not inappropriate, view of women; at the same time, I know guys who are putting their "fight for feminism" etc on display for the WWW to see while sleeping with women they badmouth or leaving those they say they care about without EVER showing appreciation. Hypocrisy is so easy in this matter. And as long as we assess how much of a hypocrite someone is rather than their actual willingness to be a fair, nice person, this day remains a day, and not a process...

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