Wednesday, March 22, 2017

International What Day?

I saw a lot of people criticizing "international women's day" this year. Some of them, women themselves. Most of them men. Let me start by saying this, you have a right to your opinion and I respect if you don't want to celebrate. However, knocking others observing the day is a little cringe worthy for me, and here is why.

1. The main complaint I heard was in the name of "equality." Or more pointedly, "Pffft, international women's day? That's dumb! When is international men's day?" This complaint is mostly about, if women don't want to be treated as "special" or "different, they need to stop demanding special treatment. But to all this I would have to respond: International Women's day was on March 8th, 2017 (this year.) International Men's Day is November 19th. Thanks for playing. And yes, I agree, if men can have an international day celebrating the extraordinary accomplishment of having a penis, then I guess in equality's name, we should have one for the counterpart vagina. 2. Having a "day" doesn't accomplish anything useful.

You're not wrong. It is a pretty useless thing to just name a day in recognition of something and expect ALL of the problems facing that thing to just float away. February 4th is World Cancer Day, and yet, we still have cancer in the world. Guess that didn't solve much, huh? But who's to say? I mean, this does kind of give a time and place to set aside a few thoughts and maybe even a couple of dollars to research in combating cancer. Just like International Women's day kind of organized a time and encouraged a little bravery for the women of the world to voice opinions to newspapers, employers, legislators, etc. about oppressions that go unnoticed, equal pay, or reproductive health rights. Many times this day is used for women working at unfair wages or without recognition to go on strike to fight for the women in their company. 3. Having a "day" belittles women. It shouldn't be just one day but "always."

I'm not sure what this complaint is exactly. I mean, yes, I agree that women should be appreciated just as much as anyone else in the world. There are many degrees to a spectrum for gender and sexuality, and each and every person, no matter their alignment on that spectrum should be treated as anything less than a person. Plain and simple. But "not" having a day? Come on. Turning a nose up at being given a day goes back to the equality thing. You can't want equality and then whine a stomp your feet when something is given to you. Imagine a room full of children being given candy. and when a child is missed they demand that it isn't fair that they didn't get what everyone else got. So, the adult hands them a piece of candy at the realization that the child was overlooked. Chances are, realizing that mistake is going to inspire the adult to pay closer attention next time to make sure no child is left out again, especially this child. But then the child complains that the candy isn't the flavor they wanted. They wanted the blue piece, not the orange. Well. Now they get nothing because the adult in charge of the candy is upset now for their efforts in remedying things not being good enough for the child. (Before you read too much into this metaphor I'm not trying to compare women to petulant children, or to paint men as the "adults." If anything "society at large" is the "adult" in this scenario, and behaving petty as well.) Problem is, this is a step backward for everyone. So I want to enlighten others to another way of thinking about "days." We have a National Doughnut Day, June 8th We have a National Talk like a Pirate Day, September 19th We have a National "Color" day, October 22nd I'll repeat that, we have a day set aside in the calendar to recognize that color exists. Now as an artist I am a huge fan of color. I like that it exists. But I'm pretty sure most of the world is already aware of the existence of color. I'm pretty sure having a day for it isn't accomplishing anything more or less than having a day set aside for recognizing being female or male. Pretty sure we would all survive if we didn't designate a day to recognize pirates or doughnuts too. But no one is getting up in arms about eliminating these days. Why? Because they are pretty harmless to just be left alone, right where they are, wouldn't you say? But what does it say about our society when we have no problem allowing people to celebrate, "We Love Broccoli Day" (Today March 22nd 2017, yes it's real) but throw tantrums about people who are observing International Women's Day? Are women not as worthy of having a day marked on the calendar as Men, Doughnuts, Pirate Vocabulary, Pallets of Color, Lefthanders, Broccoli, Fried Chicken, "Sauntering," and more? Yes, some of those are pretty great and deserve a little recognition. I just think women are too. And while I may not recognize every "Day" on the list, I'm not going to sit here and lecture others for making the effort to celebrate something silly. We need a little more silliness in the world. And putting others down for an effort to raise awareness, raise funds, make change, or just to be a little silly at times... well that would be foolish.

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