I’ll admit it, I find Women’s History Month slightly obnoxious. In my defense, for a year I was in charge of editing all the proclamations from the White House trumpeting the named months, dampening my celebratory attitude. But before I earn an anti-feminist label, hear me out.
For one, the way we celebrate seems to accomplish little, or worse. SoulCycle wants to sell me the tiniest $52 WHM tank top. Will this small piece of cloth launch women into a new era of greatness? And when we do try to accomplish something, every event, email or donation drive promoting women assumes we love the equity agenda, open borders, and expensive and unreliable energy, as if women are monolithic in our views.
And the misinformation throughout the month is astounding. Women are paid 82 cents on the male dollar, I am told on repeat (ignoring differences in hours worked, profession and so on). But before I put on my marching shoes, I remind myself my own husband makes more than me because I eagerly rejected a soul-crushing job in favor of one I absolutely love. I will not be shamed into prioritizing 18 cents over happiness, balance and career satisfaction, that is for sure.
And I dislike minimizing people to their genitals. If someone has done something great, why not celebrate that achievement rather than genetic facts? As in, if we’d like to celebrate Kamala Harris, is there some accomplishment (and no, titles are not accomplishments) we can celebrate rather than just pointing out skin color and sex, like the White House did?
But, I’ll be a feminist yet. Why? Because I want to celebrate womanhood. There’s just so much to appreciate.
Unfortunately, when our society finally does get around to celebrating the accomplishments of women, it’s only their most male-sounding achievements. Being rich. Being powerful. Being athletic.
To be sure, there’s nothing wrong with being a Girl Boss. I myself collected three degrees and rose through the ranks at the White House, certainly worthwhile experiences, paved by Girl Bosses before me. But, is there nothing about femininity and womanhood itself to celebrate? It may not make the history books, but what about the women who raised Condoleezza Rice or Ruth Bader Ginsburg? We don’t need to know their names to be thankful for their work. And make no mistake — it is work.
By celebrating only career moves and finances, our society adopts the stance that men’s priorities must be the right ones. How misogynistic. The societal acceptance of these priorities is so invasive we barely recognize it. Netflix has a Girl Boss series right now, “Inventing Anna.” (It’s not worth watching.) The main character is a journalist who abandons her newborn so she can write a frivolous follow-up story about a criminal. I suppose this is supposed to be admirable. She is, after all, taking the steps a man would probably take. But why is the male norm the model? Is there nothing to applaud about drawing lines at work?
And in our obsession to recognize male-centric accomplishments, we’ve predictably started recognizing men. Like the first female four-star officer in the Department of Health and Human Services, who is a man. Or a female weightlifting record holder, who is also a man.
This has gone too far. There’s more to life than the male norm. It’s OK to celebrate the innumerable facets of being a woman. Be proud if you’ve given life. Be proud if you show emotion. Be proud if your home is spotless, if only for a minute. Be proud if you’re an amazing cook. Be proud if someone likes your smile. Be proud if the kids were picked up on time. Be proud if you found the perfect heels. Be proud if you make other people happy, successful or fulfilled. Be proud of being a woman.
If we’re going to do a lady month, let’s do it right. Let’s celebrate the beauty and the joy of being a woman.