This day always sneaks up on me and it sparks so many feelings all once.
Like my sophomore year of high school, when the guy they had hired to train the light technicians for drama club (I was one of two) would only teach the boy (meanwhile asking me to do menial tasks like hold ladders or grab lightbulbs), despite the fact that I had more experience. When I told the drama teacher about it, he simply said he was in no position to turn down free help and that I would just have to deal with it. I quit the next day.
Or my freshman year of college, when my Spanish professor would constantly ask where the female students were if not in class, would virtually ignore make students, and often made inappropriate remarks about clothing. I quit that too.
Or every time I’ve walked home alone ever…special shout out to the creep who followed me home while admitting he’d been watching me for awhile because he liked the way I dressed.
I also think of the good things. Like when I walked into my grandpa’s house and saw the sign that read “A woman’s place is in the House…and the Senate.” Or the time my little brother watched my sister get catcalled…and said how sorry he was that women were treated that way and vowed not to do the same.
I was pleasantly surprised today when I was wished a Happy Women’s Day by several colleagues, students, and pazar salesmen. I also had a good talk with my mentor students about the day; what it means, why we have it, where we go from here.
At times – when I hear sexist remarks, see sexist comments on the internet, or all of the horrible ilk that seems to be all of politics at the moment- I feel discouraged. But then I see millions of women all over the world coming together to march in solidarity, people standing up and calling others out on their misogyny, and strong, powerful women breaking barriers every day and I feel hopeful again. The world is far from perfect; we still need a day to remind humanity that it is shutting half of itself out. It’s a work in progress, but at least we are moving.