On Feminism and Fireworks

I just got a fun email from a male blogger (who rarely, if ever, blogs about "women's issues") telling me that my coverage of International Women's Day was crap. Err, "disappointing." He was expecting to have something better to link to than the garbage I've served up.

I'll pause momentarily so you can both appreciate the inherent irony and imagine the look on my face when I received a missive from a gentleman complaining that my recognition of International Women's Day was insufficient for his purposes of lazily linking to it so he didn't have to actually do any work himself.

And, you know, leaving aside the chutzpah of treating the acknowledgment of International Women's Day as woman's work and expressing disappointment in his unpaid subcontractor for doing substandard work that failed to meet his expectations of excellence for work he wanted to take credit for, I sort of understand his complaint. It's not like any of my IWD content is extraordinary, or even remarkable.

And partly that's a reflection of my ambivalence about marking a single day, or a single week, or a month—which is something about which I've written previously—and my consternation about how to mark it effectively, if it is worth marking, for reasons Renee elucidates here.

But it's also partly a manifestation of the reality that IWD really is just another day. Another day in the world, and another day at Shakesville, where I try (and fail, and try again) to be the change I want to see in the world, and to advocate for all women: Black women, brown women, white women, tall women, short women, dwarf women, fat women, thin women, in-betweenie women, trans women, women with disabilities, able-bodied women, old women, young women, girls, women with children, childless women, healthy women, ill women, poor women, rich women, middle class women, employed women, unemployed women, immigrant women, women in every country, English-speaking women, non-English-speaking women, progressive women, conservative women, women in unions, women in comas, straight women, lesbian women, bisexual women, asexual women, powerful women, weak women, vegan woman, vegetarian women, meat-eating women, religious women, atheist women, agnostic women, educated women, uneducated women, women who have survived trauma, women who want my advocacy, women who don't, and/or every other conceivable expression, intersectionality, and experience of womanhood that exists on the planet.

I believe in and fight for women's equality, and I do not expect my sisters who do not share my privileges to wrench apart pieces of their identity in exchange for my alliance. (Nor do I want to be expected by women with privileges I don't share to wrench apart my own identity in service of a false solidarity.) We can't tear ourselves in parts: The female part of me now has equality (happy face!) but the queer part of me doesn't (sad face!).

A person either has equality or she doesn't. And as long as one of my sisters is marginalized on any basis, we have not achieved the goal in which I am interested.

That's an expansive proposition. It can't be addressed in a single day; I can't encapsulate into a blog post what it means for billions of teaspoons to be clattering away, the din of working teaspoons indistinguishable from the reverberating echo of teaspoons that went before and the tintinnabulous promise of teaspoons to come.

I guess my correspondent was expecting fireworks. And all I've got on the day he wanted explosions of colorful grandeur was the tedious daily business of feminism. Yawn.

Let us note with bitter amusement that if more people did the tedious daily business of feminism, International Women's Day might really be a day of celebration, warranting those fireworks.

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