A Day Without Women is not about how hardline a feminist you are. It is not about how much damage we can cause, or how much chaos. It is about visibility, it is about equality and the recognition that without women, we are indeed bereft. It is about the fact that women in the world and here in America should be held — and paid — as equal to men. There is another thing it is not, though, and that is a time to attack or belittle women who did not have the privilege to protest.
We must remember that many women are unable to participate BECAUSE of how many people depend on us.
Today is not about whether or not you sacrificed enough. It is about solidarity. It is about choices. It is about women. It is about holding women up and respecting their choices because not one of us can truly understand another woman’s situation. For those who couldn’t participate, there is more information on how to make their own presence felt today at the end of the article.
Today is about women. Not about some archetypal perfect female trope: but about each real woman and her real life — about making the pursuit of happiness more available for each.
Consider this twitter thread by Brittany Packnett:
So, I have to work tomorrow. I promised I'd do a panel at #SXSWEdu to discuss cultural affirmation for kids.
BUT, I'll be wearing red.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) March 8, 2017
Some women had to go to work today, either wearing red or not. Others, the women who are carrying our message forth today, are making our presence, by their absence, felt. One thing we must not do is shame women for how they chose to spend today.
Our system has no sympathy for those who do not attend low-wage or factory jobs. If every woman didn’t show, it would surely shut down the shift at the local plant, right? But most of those women would be one step closer to being fired for their absence. Some would not be able to pay their bills for missing just this one day. Some could lose their home.
Some of us women are just not able to step out of our role. Some who do, such as day care providers, nurses and teachers, are going to be attacked for participating in this because it affects so many — and honestly, if it affected no one it would be a useless protest. Those who don’t participate should not be attacked by those who do.
Some of us do not make enough to even skip one day of work. We work sick, we work hurt, we work when our principals would have us stay home. Because being homeless, or without food or utilities for our families, is not an option. Those are the women for whom this protest could do the most.
Today is about spreading the message that we are no longer going to be the powerhouse of this country while accepting lower wages. While fearing assault or rape every moment of our lives, from puberty ’til death, in a culture that still blames us for our own assaults. It is about holding each other up and moving forward.
There are going to be women who sacrifice more than others to participate today. Others will participate and get a check anyway for being on vacation. Then there are those moms, breadwinners, scientists, nurses, entertainers, educators, newspeople, lawyers, doctors, advocates, and caregivers (and many more) who can’t opt out at all, and won’t be participating.
The point is not that we all approach today the same way — it is that we accept each choice for what it is, her choice. Honestly, that is what this is about, isn’t it? Women having choices, women having respect and equal wages would go a long way to that goal.
For the women who could not participate, here is some information from NowThis on how to make your voice heard, even from your desk, or job site, or living room:
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons