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Here’s The Real History behind Women’s Day (And It Has Nothing To Do With Spa Vouchers!)

Posted: March 8, 2020

No, International Women’s Day is not just about celebrating women. It is about women’s rights to work, live in peace, and have all the same rights as men.

A friend of mine called me early in the morning earlier this week, and said excitedly “Hey, Sunday is Women’s Day. let’s catch up for lunch and then go for a hair spa. Everywhere they have given a discount for Women’s day. let’s enjoy!”

I wanted to scream that Women’s Day is not about Spa Discounts and Buffet Lunches. It is about women’s struggle against the pathetic working conditions in garment factories. It is about women’s right to vote and to hold public office. It is about ‘Bread and Peace’ where women took out rallies in Socialist Russia to express solidarity against the menace of World War I. Men were dying in the war and women and children were dying of hunger because women were not allowed to work and earn. Therefore, women took out rallies to fight for their right to earn bread and world peace.

The real history of women’s day

The history of women’s day is far bloodier than beauty parlour discounts and spa vouchers but the day has lost all political context through time, becoming simply a day to honour women and feminine beauty

German revolutionary Clara Zetkin proposed at the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference that 8th March be honoured as a day annually in memory of working women. The day has been celebrated as International Women’s Day or International Working Women’s Day ever since. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8th became a national holiday there. Originally celebrated primarily by socialist and communist countries, it was adopted by the global feminist movement in about 1967. The United Nations began celebrating the day in 1975.

Women’s day is celebrated in various countries; however, in the twenty-first century, it has become more of a corporate-sponsored event rather than a socialist event. Globally, while some countries offer a holiday on Women’s Day, others mark it as an occasion where men give the women in their lives (such as friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc.) flowers and small gifts. Every year, the United Nations sets a theme for women’s day. The UN theme for 2020 is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights ”.

Women’s day is not meant to celebrate the ‘feminine’ but the ‘feminist’. This day should celebrate all those women who fought for our rights. However, ‘Feminist’ has almost become a cuss word these days. People are scared to be called a feminist.

No, feminism is not misandry

The worst experience for me recently, was when I met a ‘top’ blogger, who said that she is upset with a particular women’s magazine because she finds their content “too feminist”. I wanted to clarify and asked if she meant the content was too misandrous. She said that according to her, misandry and feminism are the same.

She then went on to say that how much she loves her husband and family and clearly said that feminist women are those who do not love their husbands and are too career-minded and often neglect their kids and family. I often feel like screaming at the top of my voice, that please stop confusing misandry with feminism.

The Oxford definition of misandry is “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male sex)” While the Oxford definition of misogyny is “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women“. Therefore you can see that the definition is exactly the same. Whereas, if you look at the Oxford definition for feminism you will read “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”

Therefore, to all the people out there, please stop shaming feminists for their values; instead, brush up your knowledge and stop confusing misandry with feminism. While misandry is about blind male-bashing, feminism is more about equality. We should be grateful to all the feminists because of whom today we have the right to vote, right to earn, right to abortion, right to remarry and not get burnt alive as a sati, right to education and even the right to travel alone.

Instead of ridiculing them be grateful for all the rights we have and on a lighter note, also for the spa discounts and beauty product vouchers.

Happy Women’s Day!

(And I’ll leave you with a poster I came across on the Internet, source unknown).

Raj

Top image via Canva

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1 Comment


  1. Excellent Balaka! This should also be highlighted when celebrating tokenism for Women’s days. Should be shared with the younger generations too, maybe a chapter in their books 🙂

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