Happy International Women's Day! And Feminist Coming Out Day! by Rebekah Hakkenberg

Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, a day created to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women around the world. It is also Feminist Coming Out Day, a day created to celebrate, uh, being a Feminist. Which is still, for some strange reason, kind of a dirty word to some people. Yeah, I know. We were surprised, too.

Well, not totally surprised. The first time I remember someone asking me if I was a Feminist was also the first time I had ever really thought about it. I had always been concerned with women's rights, and believed in all the same things I still believe in today. Like, you know, being equal. But the image of feminists presented in popular culture was that of man-hating, bra-burning militants, and for a moment I paused before giving my answer, which was "Well, I'm a female, so yes."

Despite my initial hesitation, it really was a no-brainer for me, I had always and will always believe that equality of the sexes around the world is absolutely crucial to making the world better for everyone, men and women. But for a moment, however brief, I wondered how people would judge me if I answered honestly. That was over a decade ago, and young women and girls, when faced with that choice, still worry about what their answer will say about them.

While 60% of women aged 15-30 in the UK have experienced sexism, only 1 in 5 identify as feminist (via EQUALS). WTF?! What are we afraid of? Looking at the global fund for women's list of the top 10 wins for women in the past year, we've come a long way, baby, but we still have a long way to go. Women perform 66% of the world's work and only earn 10% of it's income, and we own a mere 1% of the world's property (again, via EQUALS).

Margaret Wente made the inane proclamation in the Globe and Mail today that Feminism has nothing left to do, (seriously, Margaret?!) but even she admits that this only applies to a select few (i.e., white, educated, affluent). Yes, Feminism is still a very privileged arena, and this needs to change. And even for those women who truly believe they have all the same rights and privileges as their male counterparts (um, they don't), Feminism hasn't "won" until all women are equal.

Our rights are still under attack, and so are our bodies. Women are still abused every day and it goes largely ignored, hundreds of missing/murdered aboriginal women have yet to be accounted for, and men in positions of power still seem to think survivors are at least partially responsible for their assaults. Today, women in Cambodia have been barred from rallying to commemorate IWD. Women of colour, women with disAbilities, and women who are lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender face a double or even triple whammy of discrimination, prejudice and social exclusion. Women are still sold into slavery, raped, forced to bear children, denied basic human rights, and fucking stoned to death.

So yeah, Margaret Wente can kiss our proud Feminist asses, and we will go on treating every day as if it were International Women's Day, thank you very much.

Rebekah Hakkenberg is a curator/writer/photographer living in Toronto. She is also the co-creator of Once Again, To Zelda, which is where an earlier incarnation of this post originally appeared. 


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