It’s 2017. International Women’s Day is more than just a day to celebrate conventional femininity.
Now more than ever is the time to celebrate womanhood in all its forms and to look at feminism beyond its classic cookie-cutter white washed portrayal– it’s time to look at and appreciate all women, regardless of race, religion, able-bodiedness, weight, sexuality, and whatever other dividers the world tries to put between us.
If you identify as a woman, then I invite you to celebrate with me today. In the face of those who would want to separate us it’s important to gather strength and build each other up. Rather than look at our differences, I want to spend this International Women’s Day celebrating 5 Simple Pleasures of Identifying as a Woman.
1. Beyoncé’s “Who Run the World (Girls)”
One thing we can all agree on is that this song is amazing.
There is no better feeling than seeing a relatively empty dance floor become immediately crowded the second this song comes on, suddenly filled a hoard of diverse and universally pumped women shaking it as hard as they can in some sort of ritual to honor Queen Bey. I swear half the plot of Mean Girls could have been resolved in a second if Beyoncé had just released this song a few years earlier.
No matter what kind of feminism or womanhood you prescribe to, we can all agree that women run the world. No matter your privilege, no matter your sexuality, no matter if you are Black, Asian, Muslim, Latinx, Disabled, Trans, Fat, or Poor– this song is a reminder that we are all important. The world needs women.
Okay, I’ll be honest. #MCM is super lame. More often than not the only men featured in the Man Candy Monday Instagram hashtag are celebrities who are idealistic media portrayals of men or your friend’s idiot boyfriend who is being praised for not drinking directly out of the milk carton. Not worthy of a hashtag.
#WCW on the other hand is a whole other game. Any given Women Crush Wednesday you can scroll through the #WCW tag and consistently be slapped by gorgeous woman after gorgeous woman. Even better, a large percentage of the posts not only honor the women for being beautiful (because, duh. we’re all hot) but also for their kindness, intelligence, caring, and success. It’s like a weekly little International Women’s Day.
3. Donald Trump Doesn’t Identify as a Woman
So congrats! You’re already distancing yourself from American’s Biggest Loser.
Even better– so many other amazing, talented, intelligent, and successful people identify as women. There’s Beyoncé (obviously,) Tina Fey, Malala Yousafzai, Helen Keller, Melissa McCarthy, Christy Brown, Michele Obama, Oprah, Carolyn Walker, Amber Riley, Hillary Clinton, Sofia Vergara, Gabourey Sidibe, JK Rowling, Dalia Mogahed, Laverne Cox, Angelina Jolie, Judge Judy, Rihanna, Jazz Jennings, Adele…
And that’s just to name a few. We’re in good company, ladies.
4. We Turn Our Characters Into Icons
Although there’s still a huge shortage of well-rounded and well-written female characters appearing in the world’s media, on the rare occasion we are given one we turn them into feminist icons.
When I was growing up, every little girl wanted to be Hermione Granger. And before that, it was Princess Leia. Now, it’s Katniss Everdeen. Anytime writers give us strong, purposeful, well-written women with agency they turn into symbols of the power women possess. Even less complex characters (like the Sex and the City gang, or the Pretty Little Liars) become signifiers of reclaimed control of one’s body and sexuality, and rebellion against imposing authority– and in 2017, we need characters like this more than ever.
Give us more female characters. Make them minorities. Make them trans, make them LGBTQA. Make them disabled. Make them reflective of every different side of womanhood and femininity. But never stop making them powerful.
5. There Has Never Been a Better Time to be a Woman
Let me rephrase this: being a woman is still difficult, and in many ways dangerous. We are still largely oppressed. We are still not equal to men. We are still not treated as we should be.
But for the first time women everywhere are beginning to set aside their differences to stand together and fight for each other. Every time one of us uses our privilege or agency to defend one another, that is powerful. That leads to change.
We are only a few months into 2017 and already I have seen so many instances of women extending a hand to one another to fight against oppressive forces both in and outside of their government. Movements like the Women’s March are just the beginning of larger change that will eventually lead to more equality and to more understanding.
To those who identify as women and girls, wherever you are reading this: we are more similar than we are different. We are stronger together than apart. We are all women in our own right, and that alone is worth celebrating.
Happy International Women’s Day.
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