On March 8, what used to be known as International Women’s Day will become yet another international [you-know-what-] fest against Donald Trump. Why?
Organizers of January’s Women’s March decided to hijack this historic day to host their next big event: a “Women’s Strike.” Their goal? To showcase what “A Day Without a Woman” would look like. Supporters can participate in any of the following three ways:
(1) Take the day off from paid and unpaid labor (for women only).
(2) Avoid shopping for one day (caveat: it’s okay to shop at women- and minority-owned businesses).
(3) Wear RED to show solidarity.
If the fallout from this event resembles anything similar to the Women’s March, women and girls who choose not to participate will enjoy being called “privileged,” “ignorant,” and my personal favorite, “devastatingly selfish.” But the truth is, no one is more “devastatingly selfish” than the small group of American women who decided to hijack International Women’s Day to make it about themselves.
So in advance of the name-calling, allow me to explain why on March 8, I’m striking this strike.
What International Women’s Day Should Mean
For more than a century, March 8 has been globally recognized as International Women’s Day. The movement is celebrated by the United Nations, which works to “create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programs and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.”
While American women still have plenty worth fighting for, the status of women internationally doesn’t compare. Women’s strikers’ decision to hijack this day shows just how far out of touch they are with the more serious problems facing hundreds of millions of women worldwide—problems ranging from human trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation to brutal murders masked in “honor.” Our foreign sisters need our help, and International Women’s Day should be about them. Not us.
It’s unclear how the Women’s March organizers settled on this particular day to host their next big event, but as of the publication of this article, the International Women’s Day website was silent on “A Day Without a Woman.” I reached out to both groups to find out more about their relationship, but neither responded.
So this year, for the first time in my life, March 8 in America won’t be about helping women suffering from every cruelty and indignity known to man. March 8 will be about American women promoting a liberal, anti-Trump agenda. It will be yet another day devoted to women inflating their own victimhood at the expense of the more serious plights of others. Some might call this “devastatingly selfish.”
What ‘Women’s Issues’ Really Look Like
Internationally, an estimated 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation is a cultural procedure that removes part or all of a woman’s genitalia. Not only does it carry long-term health consequences, but it takes away pleasure from intimate relationships. Actually, it makes sex hurt. A lot.
Despite the progress we’d like to imagine the world is making on this front, rates of female genital mutilation are on the rise. In Egypt, for example, 87 percent of women aged 15 to 49 have been cut. If any p-ssies need help “grabbing back,” it’s theirs. Not yours.
Then there’s this statistic. In developing countries, approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Yet, aside from the occasional op-ed by Nicholas Kristof, this issue hardly gets lip service among the Left. They’d rather talk about the cost of their abortions and birth control.
Then there’s the issue of honor killings. Despite how hard we pretend otherwise, these murders still occur every 90 minutes. Last year in Pakistan, three women a day were killed in the name of “honor.”
Just last month, The New York Times reported on a young Afghan couple arrested by police. While being held, an “armed mob” of 250 to 300 men—some of whom were actually related to the imprisoned young girl—stormed the police station and brutally murdered the couple. Their crime? Illegally eloping.
No one’s been arrested in their case, because in rural Afghanistan this is normal. It’s so normal, in fact, that in the United States and beyond, no one marched for this young couple. No one cared. On International Women’s Day, how about we talk about keeping women alive?
How Women Can Really Unite
Imagine, for a minute, if we, as women, directed the anger on display at the Women’s March towards issues such as female genital mutilation, maternal mortality, and honor killings. Imagine, for a minute, the difference we could make if we shamed these atrocities the same way we shame Trump.
Organizers of the Women’s March and now the “Day Without a Woman” often speak about this idea of uniting women. If they were serious, however, uniting to address these basic human rights violations on International Women’s Day would be a great starting place.
But instead, this March 8, the world will engage in another demonstration of partisan politics. We’ll hear about abortion, reproductive justice, and of course, Donald Trump. (If you don’t think this movement is political, just look at the pictures from January’s march.)
It’s not that we can’t address our issues on International Women’s Day. It’s just that some of us believe there are more important issues worth bringing attention to. To be fair, plenty of women who participated in the Women’s March also care about these international human rights violations. But if you watched what happened during the Women’s March, you’d understand this movement isn’t about them. It’s about all us—and a big orange man.
On 364 days of the year, it’s your prerogative to throw on pink p-ssy hats and protest our president. However, on International Women’s Day, it’s “devastatingly selfish” to make this about you. If and when women’s organizers are ready to use this day as an opportunity to unite around atrocities like female genital mutilation, maternal mortality, and honor killings, let me know. I’m ready, and many other women are, too.
But until then, I’ll be sitting out of this strike. With all the horrible things still happening to women worldwide, I can’t justify devoting this day to it. We women have too much work to do.