Happy International Women’s Day to everyone who identifies as a woman.
Being a woman is not defined by our genitalia or our ability to reproduce. We are more than mothers, wives or partners. All of the women I have ever met are fighters. We rarely get opportunities to be vulnerable in a society that judges every single choice we make. We put on a mask every day and show the world exactly what they want to see. Being overly kind to a stranger telling you to smile, hiding your discomfort so he doesn’t call you a bitch. Walking confidently through a street at night, gripping your keys between your fingers and hiding the fact that you’re terrified. Laughing at inappropriate jokes at work so you don’t look like a prude who can’t take ‘banter’. Constantly behaving and saying things solely for the comfort of others.
Even though the world wants us to feel like we can’t compete, diminishes us to our sexuality and capitalises on the insecurities society created for us, we will continue to fight and not let the world pit us against each other. We will continue to fight because it is not okay that almost all of the women I know have been sexually assaulted or harassed. That we have to push so much harder for our opinions to be valued and heard. That no matter what we do, we will be shamed for it. Whether it is being a single mother, the parent who stayed, being called a slut for sleeping with men who get high-fives for sleeping with you, profiting off of your sexuality even though it is the men who pay, or getting labelled ‘bossy’ because you let your mask down and stopped trying to please everyone else.
We need feminism because the fight is not over when there is nowhere in the world where women are equal. We will fight for the girls who don’t get the opportunity to be children before they are forcefully married and have children of their own. Who have no access to education let alone an opinion. Where their virginity is the most a girl can offer.
We will continue to fight for trans-women who endure all of these hardships yet still are made to feel invalidated as women. Who are more likely to endure violent attacks due to their gender identity.
We will continue to fight for the next generation of girls who would otherwise be told they can’t achieve their dreams. These girls need role models. They need to see women lifting each other up and celebrating each others’ successes. They need to know that being a women is nothing to do with what you look like or how feminine you are. You can be successful and happy without adhering to the expectations people force onto you.
Let’s remember this International Women’s Day that there is nothing stronger than a community of women supporting each other.