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Home The Feuilleton of MilSan and MikWag I Congratulate You on International Women's Day

I Congratulate You on International Women's Day


(Я поздравляю вас с Mеждународным женским днем)

March 8 is International Women's Day (IWD). It is a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women… [from wikipedia]

Your humble author, dear reader, bows to the anonymous authoress of this wiki. She tells the story of International Women’s Day. The simple, unadorned facts about how this day came to be and what it means.

…The first IWD was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Among other relevant historic events, it came to commemorate the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire…

The genre befitting this day is the history. Your author should not yield to the temptation to compose a feuilleton on this day. He shouldn't even think of it. He should congratulate his mother, grandmother and his friends on this day. Why risk impudence? Why violate his mother’s precept “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything?” Why risk deflecting attention from the message of sisterhood, selflessness, social responsibility, and obligation – the incontrovertible and powerful stories of the Tverskayas, Politkovskayas, Curies, and Amanpours?

All true. But then what will I have--other than congratulations--to give to the women in my life?  You see, l only just remembered this auspicious day when I awoke a few hours ago, on the eve of the Day. Like you, my biological clock is no longer driven by the seasons or the diurnal cycle.  So when Amazon didn’t inform me that people like me, who had recently purchased a directional antenna, also purchased flowers or chocolates for International Women’s Day, I just assumed there was nothing special about today.  When Levin Furniture forgot to junk mail me five reminders of a blow-out-24-hour-only-no-payments-until-Christmas International Women’s Day Sale, I continued my sleep walking until there simply wasn’t enough time to have a Barcalounger delivered to my beauties.

…The idea of having an IWD was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions…

Aha! Women versus the corporations. Come to think of it, I am surprised that the 21st century corporations didn’t extend to me the courtesy of a reminder. Could it be that my brothers at Hallmark and FTD florists, who respect nothing--not Christmas, nor MLK, nor Valentine’s, nor Easter--to whom a death and a birth are equally ‘occasions,’ could it be that they respect International Women’s Day? True, these Neanderthals are not motherless.  But a corporation is as dispassionate as a terminator.

Irrespective of whether the corporate machine inspected this day, acquired it for future action, or simply overlooked the opportunity, your author has grown to respect this day. So I apologize in advance for my feuilleton. My excuse isn’t ignorance of what is appropriate. It isn’t that a history and a feuilleton are equally ‘writing styles’ to me. It is simply, dear reader, that I don’t know how to write anything but feuilletons.

And somebody should write something. The NY Times doesn’t have a word of congratulations to the three billion women in the world. True, the Times celebrated Kathryn Bigelow, the first female director to win an academy award, albeit about the male topic of war.

Even the feuilletonists of the Times are silent about International Women’s Day. Krugman writes about the financial crisis; Douthat, religion; everyone else is off. Yesterday, Friedman groaned about the loss of vision in America and how our politics stifle our uniquely American innovativeness. Rich bemoaned health care reform. Kristof intoned about superbugs. Even the women, inexplicably, were silent. Melanie Bailey on the mathematics of “Alice in Wonderland.” Dowd on again about Hillary and Ahman-what’s-his-face.

But, fellow pundits, are these not problems that concern women internationally?  Have women never organized to address workplace conditions, human rights, political corruption, basic issues of sanitation and health? Have women never organized to effect revolutionary change?

Are not women effective in organizing and effecting change?  Are not women less aggressive biologically? Are not women more concerned than men with social harmony? Are not the female members of Congress more forward thinking and socially oriented than their male counterparts?

I don’t know. My final question to the punditry is the immediately-following: Is there anything more interesting and appropriate for discussion today than the question of whether a women’s movement can fix some of these problems that you have been going on about?

The below-following is my genre-specific answer to my own question:

Ladies, you should go on a sex strike until the U.S. Congress passes healthcare legislation. Let’s discuss this idea today.

The venerable Mr. Friedman and Ms. Dowd are thinking, “By Zeus, what a ridiculous idea. For starters, if it were any good at all we would have thought of it ourselves. Secondly, the Republicans are the problem.  They would rather obstruct things and smoke cigarettes than have sex with women. Thirdly, it will be business as usual-- the corporations will supply them with women. Of course there will be a price adjustment driven by supply and demand. Let’s shoot Krugman an email about it and get back to discussing solutions that don’t work but aren't so unseemly.”

I reiterate: Nobody gets any until the kids are covered and the 21st century corporations in the sheep’s clothing of the HMO are beaten back, like they were by the organizers in the 1920s. Nobody gets any—not Obama, not Bill Clinton, not Denzel, Gates, Trump, Brad Pitt, not even Hugh Hefner.

Think of it: The male population of the U.S. will be sitting bolt upright in bed watching Chris Rock on an emergency broadcast of the Daily Show:

“Jon, I’m telling you, this shit is fucked up. What the fuck good is it being a super star of comedy if you can’t get any. My wife puts on a see through negligee and sits there talking to her girlfriends on the phone giggling and giving me the look. Not a damn thing in five days! Those congressmen are fucked. This is the issue of all fucking time. It’s the brothers-gotta-get-something, stupid. Every brother is going to VOTE! They gonna break into the fucking warehouses and steal the fucking voting machines, then they gonna kidnap every fucking voter registration official and set up voting stations and unelect those politicians TONIGHT. They gonna elect nothing but women so this shit NEVER happens again.”

Ladies, you gotta do it. Talk to your moms about it tonight with your unlimited airtime. Use your world-class communication skills. Check out Aristophanes. He wrote the playbook 2500 years ago. It covers all the bases: how to organize, what to do if your husband invokes force majeure.

He even drafted a revolutionary pledge for you:

LYSISTRATA: Till peace is voted by the State,
And stilled are war's alarms,
My lord shall miss his faithful mate
Nor clasp her in his arms
When grief too great
For my connubial charms.
His wife he then may re-instate
By laying down his arms.
Do you all swear?

THE WOMEN:  Yea by the great Zeus!

Aristophanes, Lysistrata.

It is true that your moms don’t know about this approach to governing. The middle ages interrupted the transmission of this knowledge. But your sisters are reacquiring it.

In Sirt, Turkey, women staged a month long sex strike to restore running water in their village after the existing water supply system broke and the women were forced to walk miles for water. After what CNN called "frantic lobbying on the part of Sirt's male population," a governmental official was convinced to pipe water into the town.

In 2006 in Pereira, Colombia, girlfriends and wives of gang members staged a sex strike to force their men to hand in their guns. (Strike of Crossed Legs)

My sisters--all you Sarah Conners out there--once you wrest healthcare back from the machine, will you please cross your legs to keep the planet cool? The brothers will become as ardent and stiff as Al Gore. Does anyone think that Congress won’t blink when faced by the prospect of 100,000,000 Al Gores?

I, your humble author, dear reader, am nearly done. I just have to pack for the impending storm, send this item to the women in my life, and hand it over to the Russian translator. I trust that the sisters in Russia haven’t lost their revolutionary zeal—although they may interpret it a la Russe; that is, using positive reinforcement like they did in 1917.

…Demonstrations marking International Women's Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917… Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday in the Soviet Union.

p.s. What’s up with International Men’s Day?

International Men's Day (IMD) is an annual international event celebrated on November 19. Inaugurated in 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago, the day and its events find support from a variety of individuals and groups in Australia, the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the United Nations. Speaking on behalf of UNESCO, Director of Women and Culture of Peace Ingeborg Breines said of IMD, “This is an excellent idea and would give some gender balance.” She added that UNESCO was looking forward to cooperating with IMD organizers. [from wikipedia]