I am woman, hear me and see me.
International Women's Day is usually my favourite day of the year. Feminist Christmas. But the past few years have been coloured by a dark cloud of disasters. Public health crises, continuous lack of action on women's safety from our governments, floods and wild weather caused by climate change, and male politicians speaking on IWD panels. Not to mention the capitalisation of IWD that's been infiltrating for years. Cupcake with 'girl power' on it, anyone? Morning tea in the lunchroom where the women plan, set up, and clean up? How about everyone wears purple for the day!?
International Women's Day started as a day to take to the streets. To be heard. To send a message about inequalities across the globe. Where the fuck did that tradition go? Corporates and elite 'girl boss' white feminism have taken IWD for too long. This is not International Women's Day. Fuck your lunches, fuck your breakfasts, and fuck those little pin-on ribbons that will end up in landfill tomorrow.
We've played along with the patriarchy for too long. We've sat through the shitty jokes and listened to the men whose 'hearts are in the right place, but they just don't get it.' We've tuned into the news to hear Scott Morrison talk about his daughters and his wife and his mum. We've seen him speak over his women colleagues. We've seen his pathetic 'attempts' at a response when reports of harassment and assault have been brought to his office.
There's no excuse. There's no reason. And there's no patience left. Should we bring men along on the so-called 'journey' of feminism? Should we 'just focus on how far we've come as women'? Should we spend the day remembering and celebrating the women who came before us? My patience for that has waned, and I'd be willing to bet all the girl power cupcakes in the nation that the feminists who came before us would be screaming 'MAKE THEM HEAR YOU' from beyond the grave.
It's not enough. The apology in parliament, the transparent speeches about how great are women!? The pictures of smiling corporates doing a 'cheers' with their coffee cups, the male bosses standing up at morning tea to take about how the office wouldn't even run without the incredible women they had the insight to hire. It's. Not. Enough. Hear us. See us. Understand us. And act.
Sure, there's a point to be made about how much stronger our movement would be if men came to the table. In an ideal world, everyone would unite to fight for the rights of women. But I will no longer hold that burden. I will no longer pull myself down and hold myself back to make men more comfortable. We have all had ample time and access to understand why feminism is still necessary. How many more women have to suffer until the message is clear? Because it's not that they don't understand. It's that they don't care.
From anti-vaxxers co-opting pro-choice language to the Prime Minister using the women in his life as election fodder, to the grandparents who think Grace Tame should have just smiled!! No more. I will not pander to you. I will not try to help you understand. I will not put myself out to make you more comfortable. I will not stay quiet until I'm in the safety of my car driving home from yet another event where men objectified women. And hear this: it is not my responsibility to keep myself safe, to keep you comfortable, to educate you on an issue you've had ample time to educate yourself on.
Ignorance. Arrogance. Entitlement. Three pillars of the patriarchy. Three behaviours that allow the oppression and disempowerment of women. I. Don't. Care. Three words I will embody this International Women's Day. Three words that will become my mantra as we head into another year of women being attacked, ignored, and used as election pawns. I don't care about the fragile egos of the men with the loudest voices. I don't care if you came from a different time. I don't care if you think I'm rude. I don't fucking care.
The catch cries of ‘time‘s up’ and ‘enough is enough’ may be a touch overused, but they become more accurate every day. They are said with more desperation every week as one more woman becomes a survivor. They are shouted louder every time another woman doesn’t get to survive. Hear us. See us. Understand us. Time is fucking up.