Women have much to celebrate on International Women’s Day, as well as much to mourn—including so many privileged and prominent women who eschew the label “feminist” for reasons I cannot fathom. I find myself in agreement with Caitlin Moran, who said:
When statistics come in saying that only 29% of American women would describe themselves as feminist – and only 42% of British women – I used to think, ‘What do you think feminism IS, ladies? What part of ‘liberation for women’ is not for you? Is it freedom to vote? The right not to be owned by the man you marry? The campaign for equal pay? ‘Vogue’ by Madonna? Jeans? Did all that good sh*t GET ON YOUR NERVES? Or were you just DRUNK AT THE TIME OF THE SURVEY?’
I’ve spilled much virtual ink here and elsewhere on the Worldwide War on Women, but I don’t feel like talking about that today. Today, I want celebrate. I hope you find something or someone feminist worth celebrating, too.
Bloody Marys in the Bar, anyone?
“Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. This was a definition of feminism I offered in Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center more than 10 years ago. It was my hope at the time that it would become a common definition everyone would use. I liked this definition because it did not imply that men were the enemy. By naming sexism as the problem it went directly to the heart of the matter. Practically, it is a definition which implies that all sexist thinking and action is the problem, whether those who perpetuate it are female or male, child or adult. It is also broad enough to include an understanding of systemic institutionalized sexism. As a definition it is open-ended. To understand feminism it implies one has to necessarily understand sexism.” -bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics.
“When we talk about hyper-masculinity, if what we mean is patriarchy, that’s what we need to say. Because we have to have a space to love, to revere, and to honor that which is masculine but is not patriarchal. And if we are constantly equating the two, then we are part of the assault on masculinity.” -bell hooks, in an amazing interview with Melissa Harris-Perry (VIDEO).
“They said, ‘You are a savage and dangerous woman.’ I am speaking the truth. And the truth is savage and dangerous.” -Nawal El Saadawi, Egyptian writer and anti-genital mutilation activist (on behalf of all children).
“Democracy is not just freedom to criticize the government or head of state, or to hold parliamentary elections. True democracy obtains only when the people – women, men, young people, children – have the ability to change the system of industrial capitalism that has oppressed them since the earliest days of slavery: a system based on class division, patriarchy, and military might, a hierarchical system that subjugates people merely because they are born poor, or female, or dark-skinned.” Nawal El Saadawi, Memoirs from the Women’s Prison.
Today’s Google doodle:
“I don’t want to be thought of as the ‘girl who was shot by the Taliban’ but the ‘girl who fought for education.’ This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.” -Malala Yousafzai, education activist.
“I don’t want revenge on the Taliban, I want education for sons and daughters of the Taliban.” -Malala Yousafzai
“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” -Malala Yousafzai
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” -Malala Yousafzai
“Feminist rage is not a finite substance. There’s enough for all the doomed rebellions.” -Jill Psmith and/or Twisty Faster, brilliant and witty author of I Blame the Patriarchy, “the patriarchy-blaming blog that has been advancing the radical feminist views of Twisty Faster since 2004.”
Stop Telling Women to Smile. An activist art project addressing gender-based street harassment by placing drawn portraits of women, composed with captions that speak directly to offenders, outside in public spaces.
“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.” -Mae West, American actress.
“Marriage is a fine institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” -Mae West
“Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from.” -Mae West
“Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile” -Mae West