International Women’s Day reinforces stereotype

As a woman, it’s nice to be recognized. We are so many things all at once, and we’ve had a long run of trying to be acknowledged for our role in society.

Women have and continue to endure so many abuses and inequalities. But the main fight women fight every day has less to do with these abuses and inequalities and more to do with being singled out because of their gender.

By that token, International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8 every year, fails to help women’s cause. By dedicating a day to celebrate women, I think the world reinforces the stereotype that they’re “not men” or that they’re special only because they’re women.

The same can’t be said about International Men’s Day, Nov. 19, which doesn’t seem to get the same hype the women’s day gets. I can’t speak for men, but the same idea applies.

International Human Rights Day celebrates human rights, which celebrates various conventions and attempts to put an end to violations against humanity – sounds great! World Cancer Day celebrates cancer survivors and symbolizes support for those who are inflicted with the disease. What does International Women’s Day celebrate? Being a woman – umm?

Let’s be recognized for our achievements and accomplishments, both as men and women, instead of for our gender. Having XX chromosomes shouldn’t be any more special than having XY ones.

Plus, how effective is March 8 in empowering women? If anyone has looked at their Facebook feed recently, you’d find that women are not appreciated for being women; they’re appreciated for doing and saying the “right” things in a society that is far more critical about what women do than men.

Let me explain further.

I saw a great number of posts related to women Saturday. Only one or two of them discussed serious matters. Take the blog/website Thought Catalogue, for example. I realize the site is not by any means a serious website, but it is one that damages the status of women in the posts it promotes.

“15 signs he’s really, really into you,” “19 ways to be a likeable woman” and “5 things women do that really annoy men,” are just some of the posts I saw circulating Facebook on International Women’s Day.

With posts propagating such ideas that women need to do something to be “likeable” or to not annoy men, the world is not really appreciating what being a woman means. In fact, it’s doing just the opposite.

International Women’s Day, in and of itself, is a nice idea. It’s nice to be recognized. But let’s all aspire to be recognized for something other than our gender. Let’s hope for a day where women – and men – are left alone and celebrated for their doings.

I’d like to see a day celebrating “letting women be” – be women, be successful, be human, be whatever they want to be, without having to explain it to anyone.



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