Today is International Women’s Day — and is also the demonstration “A Day Without A Woman,” which has become unexpectedly controversial. Some feminists think that, unlike the “pussy hat”-bearing “Women March” of January 21, this one did not come up through “proper channels.” It’s a little more aggressive tactically: a general strike (for women) called by more radical feminist-oriented organizations (at least if you consider groups like Move On to be “radical.” Well, it did endorse Bernie!) Here’s a video from an organizer:
Delightfully, though, DPOC (under new Chair Fran Sdao) is 100% behind it! Here’s her (and I’m not being sarcastic) stirring message from yesterday:
Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 8, women across the globe will be celebrating International Women’s Day. To support this day, the organizers of the Women’s March are encouraging all of us to participate in A Day Without A Woman. The call is for women to go on strike to demonstrate how important they are to the American workforce, something we Democrats know very well.
“A Day Without A Woman” was established to acknowledge “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,” according to the Women’s March organizers.
Most working women are not able to stay home from work so alternative ways of showing support are suggested and encouraged:
1) Don’t Shop: Women are responsible for 70-80% of the purchases made in the United States. If you need to get something, try to buy it the day before, or only shop at businesses owned by women or minorities to lend support to the people who need it the most.
2) Wear Red: Wear red to show solidarity with women. Men are encouraged to wear red, too!
3) Spread Positivity via Social Media: Share an inspirational quote, an informative article, or a message of support that can spark others to think about the purpose of the day and let marginalized groups know you’re behind them.
4) Make a Donation: If you can afford it, even a small donation to an organization like Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, or the Ms. Foundation for Women can help fight back on the recent attacks on women’s rights.
5) Sign a Petition: You don’t have to spend any money to contribute to good causes. Change.org or MoveOn.org and other petition websites provide ways to promote and advocate for women’s issues.
6) Call a Representative: Call one our Orange County Congressional Representatives to urge them to support women’s rights. Below are the phone numbers to all Orange County Congressional Representatives District Offices-
Congressional District 38, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D) (562) 860-5050
Congressional District 39, Rep. Ed Royce (R) (714) 255-0101
Congressional District 45, Rep. Mimi Walters (R) (949) 263-8703
Congressional District 46, Rep. J. Luis Correa (D) (714) 621-0102
Congressional District 47, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, (D) (562) 436-3828
Congressional District 48, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) (714) 960-6483
Congressional District 49, Rep. Darrell Issa (R) (949) 281-2449
Fran Sdao, Chair
Democratic Party of Orange County
So that gives you the basics: stay home from work, if you can, and from stores if you can’t. Men: be supportive. (No, more supportive than that!)
As an example of a critic of today’s action, here’s reporter Meghan Daum of the Los Angeles Times slamming strikers for being “privileged”:
Make no mistake, March 8 will mostly be a day without women who can afford to skip work, shuffle childcare and household duties to someone else, and shop at stores that are likely to open at 10 and close at 5. As for wearing red, what is the dress code, exactly? Are you supposed to wear your pink pussy hats, too?
The precursor to A Day Without A Woman was A Day Without Immigrants, a boycott/strike that occurred on a large scale in 2006 in response to anti-immigration measures proposed during the George W. Bush administration. It was repeated, quietly, last month. Galvanizing as these events may be, they are not like union picket lines, choreographed to achieve a specific goal, which is why the question of how much meaningful change was effected by the 2006 protests is still a subject of debate. A Day Without a Woman seems especially poised for unquantifiable results, given the diffuse nature of its platform.
What is guaranteed is media attention, especially the kind that germinates on social media and spawns a flurry of Internet commentary and hot takes about the bedeviled state of the contemporary female.
Some of that chatter will be about Trump-specific displays of blatant misogyny. Some will protest the kinds of rollbacks in reproductive rights you’d see in just about any Republican administration. Or focus on education policies, sexual violence and harassment, LGBT rights, healthcare — anything that can be loosely designated a women’s issue. Along for the ride will be the perfunctory cutesy-ironic Internet memes about gender-based microaggressions like mansplaining and manspreading. Any male who complains about having to pick up the slack left by striking/boycotting women can count on plenty of eye-rolling invocations of the popular refrain “I Drink Male Tears.”
Meanwhile, for the millions of women who have no choice but to show up and meet their responsibilities on March 8 (and every day), it will be business as usual.
Yeah, life is unfair. And surely today’s strike will exclude some woman who might wish they could participate (but who, as Sdao’s message mentions, can choose to participate in other ways). And, indeed, some of the insulting of men by these privileged women who force men to pick up their slack is going to be insufferable. And surely the Trump Administration is not going to crumble and collapse because women (even if it’s mostly or even only “privileged” women) flex their muscles in front of everyone else.
But, you know what? Nobody, none of us, actually know how to defeat Trump and Trumpism — and we (at least those of us who are so disposed are all trying all sorts of ways we can up.) If women who can’t participate really thought that this was a terrible idea, I’d certainly want to listen to them — but I’m not going to take the word of a herself-privileged LA Times reporter who thinks that she can channel them. If she wants to let us know what poorer women think, she can damn well hand over the column to one of them for the day.
Desperate times call for desperate measures — and some of those desperate measures will be stunts. This is a time when we need solidarity — but only reciprocated solidarity, because that’s the only real foundation for change. Pissing on someone else’s plan, so long as it meets several basic criteria like non-violence and a demonstrable widespread group of adherents — and this “Day Without a Woman” meets both — is just pointless. Women are putting on a show for the greater society today, a show to demonstrate their solidarity with one another and maybe spark some flames of resistance in others. I don’t know what it will accomplish; I don’t have to think it’s the best plan; but I am damn well going to applaud their actions, because that little gesture is something that I can do.
(Well, I can do something else, I guess: if anyone gets fired over not showing up for work, let me know. It’s probably best for women to say that they didn’t come in because they were sick — sick with Trumpitis, which malady that weakens the heart.