Today is International Women’s Day, and it’s also #DayWithoutAWoman, which is kind of a followup to the Women’s March and #ADayWithoutImmigrants.
To support A Day Without A Woman, we’re supposed to wear red and not do any shopping, except at women-owned businesses. Ideally all women are supposed to take the entire day off from all paid and unpaid labor.
Taking the day off from all paid and unpaid labor is a tall order. It’s been the cause of a lot of conversation over the last couple weeks – both with my coworkers, and with friends who have kids. As far as work goes, tonight is the first preview of our next show, plus my boss is out of the office all week, so it feels like a bad time to just take a day off. As for kids, I might consider it if they were at daycare or school (although both of those are run by women, so that would feel weird). But they’re with Drew’s parents today, so it also feels wrong to drop them off, and then go home and watch TV.
I realize that inconvenience is a part of the point of this day. Ideally all the schools would shut down because all the teachers are women, and the substitutes are all women, and so kids would have to stay home, but moms would all be going to hang out with their women friends and patronize women-owned businesses, so the fathers would have to work it out. I guess.
But the issue here is that I just don’t think that, for the most part, women are willing to commit to inconveniencing a bunch of other people – especially when it seems like kids and other women are going to be hit hard. Like we all stood around in circles saying “Well, this really isn’t the best day for it” and then in the very next breath “AND I KNOW THAT’S THE POINT BUT STILL.”
Additionally…I wish there was a very specific and quantifiable thing that this day was about. In Lysistrata, the women were very specifically saying “Stop this war.” (They were also really only inconveniencing the men.) There was an achievable outcome. But raising awareness for women’s rights, while vital (especially right now), feels like too vague a cause. And saying it’s just for one day basically just means that whatever I don’t buy today, or get done today, I’ll shop for or do tomorrow.
I’m so conflicted. I mean, I’m going to work. But I feel guilty about it. I’m wearing red. But I should be doing more. I’m patronizing my favorite woman-owned business at lunchtime. But I wish I could speak more eloquently and persuasively so that I could really make a case for the importance of women’s rights, and to the point of this day.
I fear that we, as women, won’t be able to create the kind of impact necessary with this type of protest. And I fear that men (particularly those in power) will read that as weakness or passivity, and not as the responsibility and love that it really represents.
I’m tired of all the happy men who rule the world
They grow—of that I’m sure
They grow—but don’t mature
I’d like the chance to hide in that world
I’m listening as these men who aren’t quite men yet,
but aren’t boys
Make noise and throw their knives
Their toys are people’s lives
They fight too hard and play too rough
They sometimes love but not enough
My heart will beat at will, but still…
-“Trina’s Song,” Falsettos, William Finn