Is an International Women's Day necessary? The obvious (feminist) answer is wrong in principle. For us feminists (a tag whose last syllable is muttered with an angry hiss), every day is Women's Day. And if there's an issue that isn't on the agenda on International Women's Day, it is the status of women and inequality.
It's a well-known rule that only disadvantaged groups or traumatic events in the life of a nation or the world get a special day named after them - a kind of morale-raising consolation prize. Sometimes it's a commemoration of a dream set aside long ago, as with Jerusalem Day. Has anyone ever thought of celebrating Paris Day or Tel Aviv Day? They don't need a special day, because people live there like normal people all year long. Even Jerusalem Day was invented only after the Six-Day War to arbitrarily mark the unification that never happened between the two parts of the city, between Jews and Palestinians. One can only guess that this year, in light of Mayor Nir Barkat's plans to allow only Jews the right of return to places that for years have been owned by Arabs and to provoke riots and war throughout the city, the celebration of Jerusalem Day will be finer and more festive than ever.
Other examples: Earth Day (come on, now); Seniors Day (we have seen how nicely they are cared for the other days of the year); No Shopping Day (don't make us laugh); No Smoking Day; Family Day (all parties agree that if one year the minor child is under the care of Party A, then the following year the minor child will celebrate Family Day with Party B); Diabetes Day; and of course, national commemoration days.
International Women's Day was also devised in that spirit, ostensibly to recall the struggle for equality that courageous and denigrated women undertook over the years, as well as to raise public awareness of the long road still ahead. But something strange happened on the way to happiness: International Women's Day became a kind of Fun Day, a day to perpetuate any and all stereotypes no matter how rusty, or, as the genderologists would say, to perpetuate the objectification of women.
Not a word about the glass ceiling and the cement floor, about the ever-growing fashion of murder within the family, about violence against women and unemployment that strikes women particularly hard. Why spoil the celebration? Like Tu B'Av, Valentine's Day and New Year's Day, International Women's Day has become a profitable business. It is also the holiday of the bazaars that, like every year, will be the core of the organized celebrations at workplaces and offer everything that "international women" need. And let's not forget the sexologist with her advice and variety of vibrators (between us, she says, who needs a man when we know best how to do things for ourselves?).
There will also be a lecture, of course. We are not just pretty faces, you know. On one International Women's Day, when I was asked to give a lecture to senior female officials at a ministry, I decided (silly me) to speak about the status of women and feminism, of all things. At least 100 women listened closely. One was even convinced. "I would also like to be a feminist," she said as her friends giggled. "But I don't think my husband would let me."
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