On International Women’s Day

First celebrated as International Working Women’s Day, March 8, 2013 is now known as International Women’s Day globally. To paraphrase a well-known advertisement from the late 20th century, we’ve come a long way, baby. Or have we? Girls and women in the 21st century refer disparagingly to ‘post-70s feminism’.
We have never known a world where women’s rights were not a topic for the newspapers. Every time a woman/girl/human of female gender is violated, the media jumps in, and makes a noise about it that’s only when some celebrity isn’t making headlines. Have we ever known a world where women didn’t have the vote, couldn’t own property, drive cars or even achieve literacy?
Most of us live in gilded cages, forgetting that the traditions we uphold are quite fragile. Even women who blame ‘modern values’ (meaning preference in clothing, etc) don’t realize their situation is more fragile than they can imagine. It was only with the advent of the British and only because they wanted to claim any property or wealth that the monogamous version of the marriage act was brought into force. Before the Brits interfered, we Indians were quite happy to share our men, or didn’t have a choice in the matter. There is really no evidence to show that the eldest son in ancient India was the heir to all the property, yet after 500 years of British rule, Indian law states that sons inherit property, while girls were given ‘dowry’. Sure, there were a couple of acts that came later stating that women got an equal share of the property, immovable or movable. This is turn lead to the proliferation of gender selective abortion or as we like to say ‘female foeticide’.
Today’s woman looks down on feminism or takes it to mean dressing in barely there clothing, drinking or other destructive behavior. While some parts of the world are fighting against underage or child marriages and pregnancies, and literacy for women, the enlightened ‘developed’ world is doing all it can to show the patriarchal minded that THIS is why women should stay in the evolutionary niche carved for them, and codified since time immemorial.
International Women’s Day has now been reduced to another commercial exploitative day, with advertising campaigns, discount sales and offers promoting the commercial trivialization of a thought-provoking day.
Let’s remember that as long we wear bras, own property, keep our right to vote and stand for office anywhere in the world, fight for our right to walk the streets or main roads in safety we are feminists. If you don’t like it, that’s too bad.

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