Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Milllion Darkened Kitchens

A Day Without A Woman. A day of protest. A day of solidarity. What would it look like if all those women the country depends on just didn't show up? No more quietly bearing the unbearable, swallowing the anger of injustice. The power of women--who we are and what we do--is formidable.

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:
  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman
But a combined show of strength is more problematic. While it's a risk for anyone to take a day, to call in, to lose wages or risk discipline, for women there's something more. More insidious. More deeply engrained.

Women are trained to be the carers, the nurturers. To us falls the emotional labor without which the home, school, and workplace cannot function. So much of that labor is expected without a thought, uncompensated, and--to many--invisible.

For women it cannot just be about "calling in". How can you "call in" for all the childcare and household chores and management and anticipating needs that must be done in addition to (or in place of) a job that earns a paycheck? All of that work has value, and the women who do it should be valued in our country far more than they are today.

What would truly happen if there were a Day Without a Woman? Perhaps it would be like this scene from the movie, "Pleasantville", where William H. Macy's character comes home to an unimaginable horror :   a darkened and empty house. And he has no dinner.

He cannot comprehend a world where everything is not in its place. Everything, and everyone. You get the feeling that, until this very moment, he's never contemplated the notion of a day without dinner waiting, or a house without a compliant wife to smooth the way.

The power of women could change the world/can change the world/is changing the world but the pull to care for, support, and do what is best for others mutes our voice. It's a complicated kind of servitude. And it's a dilemma that adversaries of women are more than happy to watch, reinforce, and even ridicule.

Today I will wear red in solidarity with my sisters throughout the country. And I will go to work, teaching young children who need me, and supporting their parents who need care for their children. But I fear for what this country is becoming. It is my responsibility as a citizen and as a woman to protest injustice.

These words, from A Day Without a Woman website, inspire me today:

In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women's March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system--while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. We recognize that trans and gender nonconforming people  face heightened levels of discrimination, social  oppression and political targeting. We believe in gender justice.

What will you do today in the spirit of love and liberation?

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