A woman is beauty..
A woman is strength..
A woman is power..
A woman is hope..
A woman is love..
A woman is the future..
Today is International women’s day, International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.
In many parts of the world women are abused, treated like second class citizens raped, and just plain disrespected and not loved the way they are supposed to be.
On this International Women’s Day let women embrace themselves in multiple identities and complexities. Each of us embodies many realities all at the same time. The same woman who may be raped is also a mother, a professional worker, a migrant labourer, or…. None of our issues should be singularised although there are times they need priority.
This said, it is time in 2013 to recognise us as a sexual class across the globe. Women as a sexual class inhabit the diverse politics of living in a female body with its many colours, races, genders and classes. As such this sexual class is not unitary, but rather poly-versally united.
International Women’s Day started in the early 1900s – mostly by Socialist Parties to recognise the paid “work” of women. The Soviet Union was famous for its rhetoric of “sexual equality”, while demanding triple days of labour from its women. Today, women across the globe work for wages as teachers, soldiers, civilians, warriors, doctors, nurses, medical-aides, lawyers, paralegals, domestic labourers, cooks, sex-workers, chefs, janitors, migrants and more.
These women are also daughters mothers, sisters, wives, partners, single, gay, straight, trans, rich, poor, middle class, slum-dwellers and homeless – while struggling and achieving – with cancer and without cancer; with AIDS and without AIDS; disabled or fully abled; in war zones and not. They come in all colours and design. No woman is ever simply/singularly female, but it is always of consequence that she is.
Women – in all their cacophonous variety have enormous potential power as labourers, child-bearers and child-rearers, and sustainers of everyday life. Patriarchy and misogyny struggle to control and contain this power.
If women were not as powerful as they also are sometimes powerless, we would simply be ignored. Instead, we are wrapped in blue cloth from head to toe, we are kept away from education, we are controlled to use right to divorce and right to control our bodies – abortion and contraception – only because those who dominate us fear our potential power and creativity; glass and cement ceilings keep us curtailed. You do not bother oppressing those who do little and are only capable of less.
Women are bound together by what they share, and also often pulled apart by their differences. Yet, there are common struggles: against sexual violence, for daycare and child-care supports; against unequal pay and for an end to sexual ghettos. Commonality does not require sameness.
In other words, women, in all their inter sectional diversity and individuality, must be recognized as a sexual class across racial and economic divides, with shared interests in order to be treated with full humanity. The women in Tahrir Square and in the streets of Tunisia demanded their human rights for themselves and all Egyptians and Tunisians alike. Their female bodies spoke of their sexual status, while they claimed their poly and universal rights to occupy the public streets. They chose not to be defined simply by their sexual status, but to claim that women’s rights are human rights.
Embrace women and girls – their bodies, their labor their love, their “civilian” suffering in war, their hauling of water, their gathering of wood, their amazing creativity, their planting of trees, their protection of the environment, their stand against fracking, their fight to maintain abortion rights and other reproductive freedoms, their bravery in public and private spaces – anywhere and everywhere across this globe.
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