Last Thursday was International Women’s Day, and for me it was the first year that this day was well and truly celebrated. The majority of social media posts I saw were about International Women’s Day in some way or another, I heard it mentioned several times on the radio and people were talking about it in the office.
However, instead of feeling pleased that the day was finally getting some real recognition, it started to get on my nerves.
Am I the only one who senses an air of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’? The #metoo and Time’s Up movements have been so successful at raising awareness about how far gender equality still has to go. These are fantastic campaigns. But it feels like feminism is the latest trend, like avocados or rose gold homeware.
Anything that gets people noticing how women are kind of equal but not really is a good thing.
But it doesn’t feel genuine. Many IWD articles pointed out the capitalist corporations cashing in on the day, like Brewdog releasing a pink beer and fashion magazines celebrating diverse bodies while simultaneously lowering the self-esteem of women everywhere.
My Facebook friends are a tolerant bunch so I don’t see much sexism from people I actually know. But I see friends of friends mansplaining sexism to women, and comments on articles telling me that, actually, there are more men than women in top positions in most industries because men have the right qualities for these roles and apparently women just don’t have those qualities. (Tell that to Anna Wintour, Malala Yousafzai and Theresa May). There are a lot of feminist articles being posted but you still can’t comment on them without a group of men jumping on you to tell you it’s ‘not all men’.
Feminism is a buzzword at the moment but we are no better off than before. Next year, a new trend will replace it and outspoken women will be silenced all over again.
All in all I don’t really have a point, except that I know I should be happy that IWD received so much recognition this year, but I’m not. I feel like the way it was recognised is damaging. Does anyone else agree? Am I talking nonesense? I don’t really know, I just know something doesn’t feel right. There is something sinister and fake about the way people are currently talking about women’s rights, as if they’re playing at being feminists and could get bored of the game at any moment.
In conclusion, I think I need a break from Facebook.