Gratitude on International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day, lovelies!

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I feel very thankful today (and in general), to live where and when I do, especially as a woman.

I am acutely aware of the millions of women who are deprived of their human rights, both basic and intricate. I know that within some cultures, this deprivation is so embedded that it is not even visible to the victims. As my hubby’s anthropology textbook points out, “In societies where male dominance is pervasive, men learn to devalue women and to assume rights to control women’s activity. Women in these cultures learn to devalue themselves and accept male domination. These gender models are often conveyed subconsciously and go unquestioned. The are automatically accepted and followed and thus are strengthened in the society.”

There are times when this fact fills me with fury, and times when I just feel pride in that despite millennia of traditional repression and the very best efforts of the patriarchy, women keep figuring out ways to be more awesome.

I heard an interview on the radio the other day with the extraordinary Leta Hong Fincher, author of “Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China.” It was fascinating.

It’s hard for us Canadian-born women to imagine what it would be like for our government to forbid us from spreading ideas about our own rights. Here, even though we have misogyny and sexual misconduct in abundance, at least we’re allowed to say #metoo. In China, such hashtags are prohibited, but women figure out ways to say things anyway, in code.

Since I have recently gone into some depth on what irks me about the status of women right now in North America, today I’d just like to bow my head for a moment and say thank you. I thank the feminists who went before me, whose lives were so much harder, and of whose battles and suffering I am a beneficiary.

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At this moment, I feel so grateful for the freedom and power

  • to speak – and write – my opinion
  • to make all my own decisions in everyday life
  • to have a job that pays fairly
  • to use my professional judgment in said job
  • to own property, rather than be property
  • to drive a vehicle
  • to travel where and when I wish
  • to expect gentleness and pleasure in intimacy
  • to raise my children as I see fit
  • to dress as I choose
  • to have had two year-long maternity leaves
  • to be responsible for my own money
  • to have come from an enlightened family
  • to have a feminist husband
  • to be, in the grand scheme of life, unafraid.

THANK YOU.

I know there are lots more things that belong on this list. For example, I could go on and on about how glad I am to wear stretch denim and sports bras as opposed to boned corsets… but if I set out to plumb the depths, I’ll be here all week.

For fun, here’s the Oscar intro by Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler, three women of great privilege but who nonetheless are pioneers in the boys’ club of comedy. My favourite bit is, “In my experience, all actresses are outstanding supporting actresses, because women naturally support each other.”

What are you pondering on this International Women’s Day?

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