Issued in self-interest.
I am stepping out of hibernation for a minute to make this announcement:
Please stop wishing me a Happy Women’s Day.
Is it just me or was Women’s Day on steroids this year?
As I am on this self-imposed sabbatical from Womaning, I did not really make any extra attempts to look up from the rock I have crawled under to find out what the world was doing on March 8th. If anything, I avoided the internet as far as I could. Having a full-time job and a kid who is currently unwell was definitely helpful in aiding my hermit lifestyle choice.
And yet, the IWD madness sought me out.
I went about the entire day with a smile on my face and rage burning in my heart.
Here’s a list of all the kinds of Women’s Day initiatives and messages that pissed me off this year.
1. Happy Misogyny Day
There are those who think they know it all. There are those who are willing to grow and learn. And then there are those who are beyond repair. Women’s Day seems to attract the latter like moths to a candle.
Here are some lovely messages I personally received on WhatsApp this Women’s Day:
Wow. Just. Wow.
I have no words. Only GIFs:
2. Happy Mother-Sister-Wife Day
The second is the category of Women’s Day wishes that praise women for all the great things we do. For men.
Again, actual forwards from my own phone that see a woman’s identity solely as their relationship to men. Shared here for your reading pleasure:
Because, why should I suffer alone?
Flash news for people who think such messages ‘celebrate’ women: They don’t. They only serve as positive reinforcement for all the invisible, undervalued, and unappreciated labour women put in for the men around them. Women do a disproportionate – and frankly inhuman – amount of the physical, mental, and emotional labour that goes into running a household and raising children.
And all such messages do is try to give us a fake sense of pride in this exploitation – just enough to last us till the next Women’s Day.
And when nothing else works, one can always resort to some good old-fashioned shaming of women who decide to make any choices other than making babies:
As I have written before:
Idolizing women’s sacrifices is a subtle form of abuse
Hello ji, Fellow CBSE students, remember those painful essays we wrote at school? The ones where we got extra marks for beginning and ending with a famous-person quote? At my school, we used to mug up Hindi quotes for all the blockbuster topics – ‘विज्ञान: वरदान या अभिशाप?’ (Science: Boon or bane?), ‘आतंकवाद की समस्या’ (The Terrorism Challenge), and of c…Read more6 months ago · 22 likes · 17 comments · Mahima Vashisht
So thanks, but no thanks.
3. Happy Men’s Day
First things first. Can we agree that one day a year for half the population of the world is, quite frankly, insanity?
But even then, a lot of people – and this is mostly women – think that even one day is too much to dedicate to women.
So why don’t we choose THIS EXACT DAY to celebrate men?
Some Womaning readers (who know just the thing that would ruin my day!) sent me some glorious LinkedIn posts as examples with the following messages:
I am not linking the posts here because I don’t want to drive any more attention to these misguided attempts at ‘celebrating’ women by celebrating men who did little more than be decent human beings as some sort of champions we should all bow before.
4. Happy Buy-Pots-and-Pans Day
Who can forget the sales and marketing dudebros for whom Women’s Day is a golden opportunity to sell women shit.
I know, I know. The business of business is to do business.
So how about selling women stuff that they can actually use to rise above or challenge gender roles?
Naah. Why apply our minds when we can simply sell them stuff that reminds them that their place is in the kitchen?
Always fun to derive some joy on this bleak bleak day from some good ol’ schadenfreude:
Apparently, the business of business is to eat crow over their misguided marketing campaigns.
5. Happy Pink Day
And finally, we have the safest, most meaningless way to mark your attendance on the Women’s Day brigade.
Make. Everything. Pink.
This comes from the titans of our industry who have this deep insight into how women think:
Here is all I am going to say about this: The next time someone offers me a rose on Women’s Day, I am going to punch their smug smiling self in the face.
Some honorable mentions
Women’s Day wasn’t all meaningless steps (and steps in the wrong direction!)
Despite the faux pas on the day, Flipkart sort of redeemed itself by announcing a Period Leave policy.
Even an ‘only words’ kind of campaign can make sense, if written in the right spirit.
I am sure there were more, and more meaningful campaigns out there, but these are the only ones that made it under my rock.
Send me some more so I can hate the world a little less.
Here is how my Women’s Day went
Other than attending all my meetings, taking care of my kid, managing all of life’s daily chores, and seething at all this love sent my way by the internet, I also got a chance to celebrate the day my way.
Also, one of my favourite companies out there – FlexiBees – had invited me to participate in their #breakthebias campaign by sharing a way I have broken the bias in my personal life.
I am used to writing 4000 words of Womaning a week, but it took me almost a month of procrastination to write the 3 lines they had asked me for.
In the end, I realized, my imposter syndrome was holding me back.
So I wrote about that and sent it in to them. They published the a post with my #breakthebias story yesterday:
I hope you had a Happy Women’s Day. Or maybe you didn’t.
Either way – don’t wish me.
Back to hibernation.
PS: Love to everyone who texted me that they missed a Womaning post this Monday. As you can see, I miss you too, and can barely stay away!
This newsletter comes to you free of cost. But that does not mean that it costs nothing.
Womaning in India is a physical, mental, and emotional labour of love. If you appreciate the work I am doing with it, you can show me your love by buying me a coffee.
Thank you for your creative effort. Happy that i read your post day!
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