Every year in the beginning of March, the ads and emails starts to roll in like an unbearable wave, destined to meet the shore. There are emails from companies who want to wish me a happy women’s day or congratulate me on being a woman, and influencers on social media who promotes products for women to use on this special day. The most surrealistic offer that I’ve ever encountered was something I was faced with just last week in an all-female Facebook group. The administrators of the group shared a link with a promotion code for a search engine where you can look up people in the criminal register. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the post where they promoted the engine. Apparently this was a way to empower women by giving them a tool to look up the men they are dating just to make sure they aren’t convicted criminals – Is this what we’ve come to I shockingly asked myself? Every year this feeling sneaks up on me and escalates until the big day is finally here: The International Women’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong; I love this very much-needed day. Just like other international special days we finally get a chance to shed light upon problems and troubles. The 8th of March is purely designated for problems that half of the worlds population is facing. We get to reflect on what other women in different parts of the world are struggling with, and we get to talk about our own troubles in relations to being female, but also about the glories of being a women and how far we’ve come with women’s rights throughout history. Unfortunately, I’ve lately started to feel like this has become overshadowed by consumption and celebration.
When I read the post about looking up your partner in the criminal register I instantly thought that this was a step backwards. The irritation grew stronger when I realised that disregarding if this was just a way of getting women to buy something, also puts the responsibility back on them to take any action to feel safer. This day is supposed to be about how we can make society safer for women, demanding change and quite frankly remind ourselves what we have to keep fighting for: equal rights, equal wages, better treatment of rape victims, ending child marriage. All of that is forgotten when we treat International Women’s Day as a corporate holiday.
During the years I have become more lenient towards people celebrating. If people want to congratulate me on being a woman I let them. I can nod along and say thank you as long as it’s because they want to highlight women in their surroundings or honour them for what they’ve achieved, but personally I won’t use this day to celebrate. It’s one day a year when everyone should recognise how much this world needs to work towards a change. The truth is that to me, it will never make sense to pay to be able to look up someone I date in order to feel safer, when I can instead donate money to an organisation working to support women that are being abused.