International Women’s Day! A day to celebrate being a woman, a day set aside to cherish all the women in one’s life. A day to wear pink (all the women, I mean). A day where there are slogans celebrating womanhood everywhere you turn. A day that is quickly forgotten once the next morning dawns. A day where it is women’s rights to bash every man they come across. A day where people think celebrating women means bringing down the men. A day celebrated in all the wrong ways.
There is so much of negativity surrounding Women’s Day on social media (yes, right under those ‘girly’ pink banners and GIFs and posters). There is a general sense of misplaced righteousness and anger at all the horrific incidents happening with increasing regularity. And amongst people, there is an urgent need to brand themselves as supporters. Of the cause, of the day. Because Women’s Day is about feminism and feminism is men bashing.
I have 364 days in the year to write about all that and more, to become the woman who is socially accepted, and to be the role model of all those misconstrued notions surrounding women and everything that decides how they live and how they behave. But for this day, this one day, I am going to celebrate it by not being bitter, by not pouring out all the angst and underlying sadness and the everyday hassles of being a woman.
I am a woman, without the labels and the stereotypes, and as a woman, I am thankful for a lot of things, some of which I will mention here. This space is dedicated for that today. A woman is made wholesome by a man. There. That sentence is for the wolves to pounce on. But when I say ‘man’, if the only man who came into your imagination was a romantic partner, whose mistake is that?
Celebrating womanhood is more about celebrating everything that makes a woman for what she is. Celebrating women does not mean placing them on a pedestal and looking at them from a vantage point that does not impede imagination. By the time this post is live, the day is almost over, and the social media apps were busy on two ends. While the beautiful roses spelt ‘W O M E N’ in that Women’s Day Special GIF, the statuses asking the purpose of celebrating just this one day for women while harassing them every day were uploaded.
The internet should be bored by all the beautifuls, gracefuls and the other adjectives used from a template to describe women. In a hurry to celebrate a woman, there is an insane rush to get everything pink, use the clichés, voice out the support, and get back to routine. There is also the need to claim ‘freedom from oppression’, to claim a ‘release’ from the patriarchal society that has relished subjugating women and before we know it, the whole day is celebrated with the mood of preparing for warfare.
Much like how there are two sides to every coin, there are different sides to every story. My personal belief of celebrating myself for the daughter, sister and friend that I am, means I include all those people who made me so. While I am filled with gratitude for my mother, I also extend the same to my father. While my heart bursts with love for my sisters and female friends, it does the same for my brothers and the male friends. I wish there comes a day when I could use the word ‘friend’ without the gender specific tag preceding it.
I am celebrating International Women’s Day in my own way, by thanking all the men in my life who have made it meaningful. My father, brothers, friends, uncles, cousins, the neighbors, and every man I have come across who has contributed in his own way something towards the betterment of my life. On this day, a day dedicated to women, I thank all the wonderful women in my life, and all the men, too. Especially those few who believed in me, and did not resort to imposing the stereotypical restrictions on me. On this Women’s Day, I respect and thank everyone who has made me the woman I am, and of course that includes the men!