IWD 2012: If not you, who? If not now, when?

Is it coincidence that on International Women’s Day 2012, Earth was bombarded by one of the most intense solar flares ever?

I can’t see them from my window, but apparently Northern Lights are visible way further south than normal tonight, thanks to the extra radiation from the Sun.

Could it be that the Sun is urging us on, sending us the pulse of a solar storm to motivate us to action?

What do I wish for women, this IWD? What do I want from women today?

I am tired of women being held hostage on the basis of their reproductive capabilities.

Yes, we are the ones who bear the babies after sex.

Sex happens and we love it.

Babies happen, too.

If a woman doesn’t want to bear the baby that takes root after sex, she has every right to decide what to do about it.

Period, end of statement.

Women have the right to be educated about their reproductive options.

Women have the right to have access to contraception, no matter their age.

Insurance companies have no right to treat contraception differently than they would treat any other drug.

Men are very happy to have insurance cover their Viagra so they can screw to their heart’s delight.

Fine.  But don’t deny women the same right to manage our reproductive capabilities as we see fit.


Today in class, when we briefly discussed IWD and women’s equality, it was inevitable that one young woman present had to tell the group how much she enjoyed cleaning house, so that she couldn’t imagine that the “second shift” would be a burden.

I just let it go.  Honey, let’s talk again in another 15 years, I wanted to say (my students are generally under 20 years old).

I would like you to come back to me in 15 or 20 years, when you have a toddler and an infant and are working fulltime, and tell me that you love cleaning and it’s perfectly OK that you do more of it than your so-called partner.


Yeah, OK, a little bit of anger there.

I was glad to see an article on Common Dreams today entitled “That’s Enough Politeness – Women Need to Rise Up in Anger.”

Hell yeah.

Women like me have been trained to be oh-so-polite.

We don’t rock the boat.

We are grateful for our jobs.

We are grateful for our mates.

We are grateful for our home and our children.

We don’t talk about the personal sacrifices needed to maintain all of the above.

As Laurie Penny puts it, “Women, like everyone else, have been duped. We have been persuaded over the past 50 years to settle for a bland, neoliberal vision of what liberation should mean. Life may have become a little easier in that time for white women who can afford to hire a nanny, but the rest of us have settled for a cheap, knock-off version of gender revolution. Instead of equality at work and in the home, we settled for “choice”, “flexibility” and an exciting array of badly paid part-time work to fit around childcare and chores. Instead of sexual liberation and reproductive freedom, we settled for mitigated rights to abortion and contraception that are constantly under attack, and a deeply misogynist culture that shames us if we’re not sexually attractive, dismisses us if we are, and blames us if we are raped or assaulted, as one in five of us will be in our lifetime….

“Politeness is a habit that what’s left of the women’s movement needs to grow out of. Most women grow up learning, directly or indirectly, how to be polite, how to defer, how to be good employees, mothers and wives, how to shop sensibly and get a great bikini body. We are taught to stay off the streets, because it’s dangerous after dark. Politeness, however, has bought even the luckiest of us little more than terminal exhaustion, a great shoe collection, and the right to be raped by the state if we need an abortion. If we want real equality, we’re going to have to fight for it.”


This International Women’s Day 2012, I want women to dare to take some risks. Dare to get angry!  Dare to think outside the box!  Dare to want more than whatever you think you should have!

Women of the world, you are needed as never before.

The Earth Mother herself lies bleeding, prostrate, raped and pillaged and on the edge of complete surrender—which will mean the death and destruction of all of us , her children.

She needs us to stand up for her, to stand up for ourselves, to insist that the old conquistador’s model of forced rape will not cut it in the 21st century.

This International Women’s Day, I want American women to stand with our sisters all over the world to insist that we are more than the sum of our reproductive organs.  We are more than house slaves.  We are more than corporate slaves.  We are not reducible to any of the ciphers by which some of us are regularly netted and ensnared.

Women of the world, there has never been a time when your input, your perspectives, your influence has been more important.

Don’t assume that someone else will take care of it for you.

We are depending on you now.

The Earth herself is depending on you now.

This International Women’s Day, I say to the world’s women: there has never been a more crucial time to step into your power and act to protect your communities and our planetary home.

If not now, when?

If not you, who?

Now.  You.  And us, together.  Men and women, all over the world.   Now, you.  Now.

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1 Comment

  1. As always, you get right to the point and mince no words, saying what must be said. Bravo!


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