The Mix

International Women's Day

Finding some constructive discussion...
From the IWD site:

"International Women's Day is the universal day that connects all women around the world and inspires them to achieve their full potential."

It's a tall order, and difficult to approach thoughtfully. Talk of "achieving full potential" is almost farcical in light of the battles being fought for women to simply be viewed as human beings who have the right to make decisions about their own bodies. And, you know, special privileges like the right to be adequately protected from physical and sexual abuse.

Type "International Women's Day" into a search engine and you're likely to see two brands of articles today: First, those that celebrate what the women's movement has achieved thus far. Second, those that focus on how far we have to go. It is the latter that seem to dominate the (rather minimal) discussion.

Not hard to see why. Former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Gloria Feldt writes, "Today, televangelist and political power broker Rev. Pat Robertson calls feminism a 'socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.'"

Robertson does feminism a favor by being its enemy. But the fact that this type of loony statement has any place in framing how we discuss feminism is just distracting -- creating a ridiculously polarized debate that leaves a chasm in its midst. So, while the old white men talk themselves hoarse over what women should and should not be allowed to do with themselves, take a gander at the more constructive project launched today by the International Museum of Women.

Imagining Ourselves combines film, paintings, photographs, poems, stories, and personal narratives from women around the world exploring what defines the current generation of women. It is also serving as a forum for online discussions on topics such as money, culture and conflict, and relationships. With links to events, ways to take action and connect with other women around the world, it's the kind of forum that takes some of the abstraction out of International Women's Day. And, it's always nice to see conversations about women including, well, women.
Onnesha Roychoudhuri is an editorial fellow at AlterNet.
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