It’s Women’s History Month and I’m Tired of Hearing About Strong Women
A whole month just for us, and not one of those short, cheated months either.
Well women, looks like this is our month. A whole month just for us, and not one of those short, cheated months either. We get a full 31 days.
One week in and I’m tired of hearing about strong women. Yes I said it.
I’m tired of hearing about strong women because of course women are strong.
We’re strong the same way any living thing on this planet is strong. You’re strong or you die. The evidence that women are strong is that humanity still exists.
Women are made even stronger by the circumstances of our societies.
Women have to do twice as much to get half the credit. We have to smile and be polite and look pretty. We have to get by with less pay. Our credibility is always in doubt. And there’s always the fear of physical attack.
Women today carry the bulk of child care, elder care, and household chores. The unpaid work they do paves the way for men to be shining examples of strength and leadership.
“Women’s unpaid work subsidizes the cost of care that sustains families, supports economies and often fills in for the lack of social services. Yet, it is rarely recognized as “work”. Unpaid care and domestic work is valued to be 10 and 39 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and can contribute more to the economy than the manufacturing, commerce or transportation sectors.” The United Nations Economic and Social Council
We have to be strong physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Then we celebrate it for a month as if it’s a rare gem when you unearth a strong woman.
The illusion of weakness.
“Your assumption, and the truth, dine at totally separate tables.” — J Michael Straczynski
If a woman seems weak to you, she’s been taught to act that way. Since the time her infant brain began imprinting society’s norms, she learned to model the dynamics around her. Then popular media took over the job of teaching her what it means to be a woman.
don’t get your dress dirty
that’s not lady-like
Speak up for yourself
don’t be too loud
he’s teasing you because he likes you
women are awful to work for
ugh she’s such a bitch
good girls don’t do that
yield to your husband
wait until your father gets home
you’re too fat
you’re too skinny
you’re so pretty
a good mother doesn’t work outside the home
a smart woman doesn’t stay home with her kids
you can have it all, just kidding, you can’t
Women are biologically more resilient than men.
Will I lose an arm wrestling match with my husband? Yes, every single time. The biology of being female, however makes women more resilient.
The answer is in the chromosomes. Pair an X with an X and the result is a female. Pair an X with a Y and the result is a male. The male combination is biologically more vulnerable. It makes the male more susceptible to hereditary diseases and deformities that are linked to the Y chromosome.
Approximately 160 males are conceived per 100 females. Due to the the less stable chromosome combination, the spontaneous abortion rate is higher in males, so approximately 105 males are born per 100 females.
Over the years, females eventually outnumber males, reversing the original ratio.
These statistics defy what we’re socialized to believe about the sexes. The notion that women are fragile or weak has been used as an excuse to allow and excuse unequal treatment.
Strong women don’t need a month of platitudes.
Strong women don’t need a participation trophy. We don’t need to be cherished as if we’re angelic, yet delicate beings. The notion that women need to be cherished and protected doesn’t respect them. This “benevolent” sexism undermines women as much as hostile sexism.
“Benevolent sexism is this view that women are wonderful, pure, fragile flowers in need of men’s protection and provision and being cherished and adored.” -Peter Glick
What women need is to be treated with respect, not awe as if we’re freaks of nature. We need to be known for our accomplishments, not our bodies.
If you want to put your money where your mouth is, this is how you can honor women all year, not just the month of March.
Support a strong system of maternal and paternal paid time off from work.
Stop watching pornography.
Keep your hands to yourself.
Stop commenting about a woman’s weight, her hair, her dating life, her sex life, or her reproductive choices.
Speak up when you get appointed to a board with no women on it.
Don’t waste her time by scheduling a meeting with her just because she’s cute if you don’t plan to hire her.
Don’t refer to her as “girl”, “little girl”, “young lady”, or any other diminutive.
Give her credit for her ideas.
Don’t participate in “guys will be guys” culture, or presidential “locker room talk”.
Do your part around the house. There are no medals given for “I emptied the dishwasher last week.”
“In the 2019 Study of Gender Diversity in Private Company Boardrooms, which Crunchbase coauthored with Him For Her and the Kellogg School of Management, of the 200 highly funded private companies studied, only 7% of board seats were held by women. Sixty percent of the companies had no female board members at all.” GENÉ TEARE
Clearly I have mixed feelings about Women's’ History Month.
Yes, it’s important and valuable to highlight the crucial roles and achievements of women throughout history. They’ve been aggressively edited out of religious texts and purposefully omitted from scientific and historical journals. Plenty of stories can be told that were previously unknown. That helps raise awareness and shift thinking.
No, it doesn’t help to feign awe and highlight a few examples of women in history while we continue on a daily basis to maintain the systems that relegate women to lesser status.
Men and women alike can use the month as a prompt to explore their own inner beliefs about women. What shifts can you make?
all images open source from pixabay.com