International Women’s Day: Things we need to reconsider (an open letter to all feminists)

A day where anyone who post or say anything about women’s issue, will bask in the glow of being the part of global attention. This so-called global commemoration highlights women’s extraordinary achievements and contributions to create an equal world in any aspect, not to mention politics, culture, education, social and economic. Bringing a peaceful world that is free from stereotypes, prejudice, and violence. A focal movement of creating a sustainable future with equal opportunities for all. Sounds like a very progressive view, right?

I won’t deny how women are now taking more and more crucial roles in society, and stand at the forefront of the battle during the COVID-19 pandemic. A tremendous appreciation is addressed to our mothers and wives, doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, politicians, etc who have given huge contributions to many lives. The eighth of March will surely be our reminder of women’s progressive movements throughout history.

But, are we forgetting something?

The picture of yourself holding that type of women’s activist poster you posted on Instagram, with the super fancy captions you probably had prepared for hours, and the many likes you’d get from that pic, is it how we suppose to commemorate our day? or, are we missing something? Hold on — Don’t get me wrong. I know how tempting it is to capture ourselves right in the glow of progressivism and let others know our bold moves. It’s all OK. But you are not making any useful contribution to it. Not if you are not aware of how many women are still underrepresented in public life and shift that highlight to your own freedom images.

I was cleaning my house while I heard a tiny voice from outside. I looked over my window, it was a young girl on a bicycle holding a white medium-sized box. She looked back, waiting for something. Two other girls who looked way younger than the first girl passed through my house. I opened my door and there they were selling food. They are sooooo young. Probably eight or ten years old. I asked, “What do you sell?” The oldest girls replied, “Ah.. I have rawon, and this is sayur singkong…” The youngest girl added, “Only 12k for each.” This girl was holding a plastic bag with everything-in-pink school backpack in it. I nodded.”I’ll take this and this.” The oldest girl enthusiastically taking the food and wrapping it in a plastic bag. It was 01.00 pm in the afternoon, the sun was shining at its brightest and these little girls dressed in cute and chic dresses, one of them wore a pair of jeans. None of them look exhausted (even I don’t know how far they’ve walked for selling foods).

Now, please do a little check. Is this a kind of picture that you’d try to portray on your social media on International Women’s Day? Are you trying to educate people by bringing up women’s issues that we have right now, or are you putting the highlight on yourself as an activist? What I’m trying to say is, people are getting enough of seeing your light. Anyway, you are actually contributing nothing to the movement at this stage. If you’ve found yourself pissed off by my words, you really need to slow down and think carefully this time. A young girl who is supposed to stay at home, getting their online class, or playing with their siblings, is walking for miles right in the mid of the day, they even don’t have the privilege of being afraid of getting sunburnt. They get to earn a living. Are you forgetting this urgency?

We are not reaching our goals yet. We are not achieving an equal world for all yet. You can always find how many cases of violence against women are out there. Millions of women strive to get help while they are trapped with their abusive husbands, girls are forced to marry her rapist, women workers are repeatedly harassed and are silenced by their boss, and these images are something that people badly need to see. We need those who constantly, persistently putting up these realities into the highlight so people will know what kind of world they are living in.

I am not sure about how we ended up in a situation where people are now so interested in getting acknowledgment as woke warriors but forgetting to stay woke when injustice exists. Everyone is too busy showing-off their involvements in women’s campaigns but forgetting the stances we really fight for.

Our blindness is inherently dangerous. And, this is something we need to avoid in our movement.

If you have a burning desire to create a better world, that’s why you begin to join women’s movement, you are on the right track. If you have seen many women are getting injustice, that’s why you start to support women’s movement, you are on the right track.

International Women’s Day shouldn’t be celebrated to glam ourselves in the middle of the chaotic situation of other women. Instead, it should be our reminder about how far we’ve gone and what else we can do to achieve a better place. This world badly expects concrete acts to uplift voiceless women and putting them on the highlight.

I need to start doing this, you should too.

I enjoy learning and writing.