It’s International Women’s Day, and I know I should be attending some event at which a feminist warrrior will share her experience of the struggle for an audience who will be outraged at the injustices that she describes, inspired by her courage in confronting said injustice, and filled with resolve to Never Give Up as we gird our loins and return to the fray, reflecting on How Far We’ve Come But How Far There Is To Go.
But I can’t gather the resolve to go to the interesting event and listen to the inspiring warrior/lunchtime speaker (and I am sure that there are many interesting events featuring inspiring speakers on the agenda for today), because – well, because feminist struggle is starting to feel like Groundhog Day.
I realise that the world is no more depressing than it was a couple of years ago. My own battle-weariness does not arise from any sense of disillusionment with feminism. Or any sense that feminism lacks achievements to its name. I won’t single out any particular landmarks to illustrate these achievements because those will be outlined in plenty of other articles in honour of this day.
I will confine myself to sayinig that we can be proud that when a woman is subjected to injustice, there is a movement that at its best and most functional will express outrage on her behalf (in public or in private) and draw on women’s experience, contacts, and resources to offer her appropriate assistance.
And much of the time, this won’t hit the headlines – not because of media indifference (or not always), but because contrary to long-winded think-pieces on the Failure of Feminism, feminism is not only about high-profile advocacy and public campaigns. We may be a fame-seeing culture, but we are not at the point where women in crisis want the glare of the media spotlight on their most personal traumas. Such women are entitled to confidentiality (within the boundaries set down by mandatory reporting laws). They do not need to be used as platforms for feminist campaigners or anyone else. It is possible to offer support without doing a victory dance at the achievement.
If that sounds like “take my word for it”, well maybe it is.
Or you could get involved yourself, if you aren’t already, and you may be entrusted with a close-up view in the process of making your contribution.
Today when I try to count my feminist blessings, I am thankful for the fact that we have a diverse (and ok, often fractious) women’s movement – and somewhere in that movement, there will always be someone who can offer appropriate advice and solidarity to a woman who is being denied her rightful place in the world.
That’s my best effort at glass-half-full.
Glass half-empty – oh, where do I start and you know this already. Everything from frighteningly high levels of domestic violence to income disparity and body-image issues and etc etc etc – I’m going to stop now before I have convinced myself that the glass is at least three quarters empty. Oh. I’ve just started thinking about the spiralling crisis for women in Pakistan – now I’ve having trouble believing that there is any water left in the glass at all.
But that’s just me. I’m not Inspiring. And particularly not today.
The best I can do is say that I know that there are inspiring women out there.
Go seek them out.