Yesterday, our prime minister’s wife, self descibed gender equality activist Sophie Grégoire Trudeau made a post about Internation Women’s Day (which is today, by the way if you didn’t mark your calendar.) But instead of using her platform to celebrate important women, or bring attention to gender inequality, her Instagram post encouraged us all to “celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect” and I just want to say- that is utter bullshit.
Boys and men do not deserve praise for treating women like human beings. That is the absolute bare minimum. I refuse to give out cookies because a man doesn’t call me a bitch or speak out against my rights. I don’t get applauded when I’m nice to men, it’s expected of me, and it should be expected of them as well. Are we going to spend International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women praising men who don’t abuse the women in their lives? No, that would be ridiculous. So why spend a day that’s supposed to be about supporting and uplifting women talking about how nice men are?
Feminism and women’s rights are not about getting men to agree or support what we’re fighting for. It’d be nice if they did, because again, we’re people and we should be treated as such, but that is not what the movement is about, almost the opposite really. What we are saying does not need to be approved or backed up by men in order to be important or relevant. That is a major part of what we’re fighting for. Our voices are just as important as men’s voices. Why would we dedicate so much time to making men support us, when we’re fighting to not need a man in order to be heard? Our rights should be considered important issues because they are important issues, and because we say they are, not because a man says that they are.
International Women’s Day is one of the very few days in the year that is solely about women. We spend the majority of the 365 days talking about and priasing mediocre men, why should we spend today doing it as well? I’m greatful for the men in my life who respect me, and who support my right to have, well, rights, but I shouldn’t have to be so greatful for that. I’m a person, just like they are. I refuse to give praise for something that should be a given.
I am going to spend today talking about extraordinary women, how far we’ve come, and what’s left to do. I am going to dedicate as little of today to men as I can. If Sophie Grégoire Trudeau wants to center her feminism around men, no one can stop her, but really no one else should follow her example. I really hope that the criticism she gets today will open her eyes to how fucked up it is to prioritize men in a women’s rights movement. And on that note, happy International Women’s Day.