Why I’m Not Participating In “A Day Without A Woman” » VSB

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Why I’m Not Participating In “A Day Without A Woman”

Today, millions of American women will exercise their right to protest by participating in “A Day Without A Woman” — a strike aimed at highlighting the “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” as is noted on the Women’s March website.

I will not be counting myself in that number. Not because I don’t believe in economic, social, and political equality for my gender. (Not for nothing, but next on my book list is Chimamanda’s Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, after all.) It’s also not because of the current and very valid discussion around how many of the women this protest is intended to uplift are not in the position of privilege to take a day off, paid or unpaid, or refrain from consuming and retain their jobs or provide for themselves or their families.

It’s not even because of the oft-revisited talking point of White Feminism needing to do the work the Black Women have already done time and time again. I discussed it after the election; many people touched on it just six weeks ago around the Women’s March. I’m sure that continuing to call out the toxic ignorance of White Women will be a frequent exercise, especially in the light of all the post-Get Out Allison Williams memes.

The real reason I am tapping out of this moment is because I am tired of couching my humanity in the value I provide to the others around me. It is wearing and insulting, and just the latest in a wave of activist moments that are well-intentioned but ultimately embed people’s empathy as a condition of what I have to offer to society-at-large.

First there was the #WeAreAllImmigrants moment, which is not only a remarkably silly edict considering the history of Native American/Indigenous People’s genocide and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, but also completely trivializes and minimizes the current fight faced by millions of immigrants every by acting like everyone’s lived realities are one and the same.

Then there was #IAmAMuslimToo, a misguided attempt at solidarity by co-opting a faith system and linking it to some ass backwards patriotism to a nation that has historically marginalized the community you are claiming to defend or advocate for. You do not need to insert yourself into a community to empathize or advocate for their rights, nor should their narratives need to be tied to some sort of longer arc of American nationalism to provide validity to their humanity.

I’d be loathe to forget #ADayWithoutImmigrantsanother well meaning but still personally frustrating exercise of people patting themselves on the back for going without stopping by their favorite tapas restaurants for a day and not complaining too much about it. Ignoring the troubling underlying narrative of immigrants being most directly tied to the service work industries of America (which runs contradictory to the never-ending “stealing our jobs” story that is pushed ad nauseam by MAGA hat owners), it is again tying advocacy for underrepresented and misrepresented demographics in America to the value they provide for others and not simply promoting their inalienable civil rights without condition.

For me — an immigrant, a Muslim, and a woman — this is all a precursor to the strike planned for International Woman’s Day, the most recent in a series of initiatives that are meant to advocate for me but seem to intentionally or unintentionally base my right to participate in American society in the quantifiable worth I provide to the people around me or in their ability to empathize for various parts of my identity, by not only walking a mile in my shoes, but claiming those shoes for themselves. Neither of those circumstances are ones that I am interested in participating in.

By no means does this mean that participating in these moments makes you a bad person — there are millions of immigrant, Muslims, and women who have been active and personal participants in these initiatives, and have chosen these paths for themselves as their preferred route to the ultimate goals of rights and equality in the United States and worldwide, and I understand the choice, even if I don’t agree. For me, however, civil rights shouldn’t be measured by manufactured camaraderie. And in celebration of International Women’s Day, I will continue to advocate for the communities I am a part of and amplify the voices that I can, but with strong reservations on continuing to quantify my value as validation for empathy.

Shamira Ibrahim

Shamira is a twentysomething New Yorker who likes all things Dipset. You can join her in waxing poetically about chicken, Cam'ron, and gentrification (gotta have some balance) under the influence of varying amounts of brown liquor at her semi-monthly blog, shamspam.tumblr.com

  • A.G.

    Apparently there is a huge protest at the White House right now. It’s like 2 blocks away but I can’t go, because my job don’t play that. Oh well.

  • Also great read as always Shamira

  • nillalatte

    If you are an ally:

    “Wednesday March 8, is International Women’s Day, and the organizers of the Women’s March have called for a day of action for equity, justice, and the human rights of women—through collective action, economic solidarity, and a one-day strike.

    Here’s the call that’s gone out from the Women’s March organizers for “A Day Without a Woman”—with three things women and allies can do:

    Wear RED.
    Women are encouraged, as possible, not to engage in paid or unpaid labor.
    Avoid spending money—with exceptions for small businesses, and businesses owned by women and people of color that support gender, racial, and economic equity.”

    I’m working today. :( But, I’m wearing red and my lunch will be at the Soul Food Cafe (if they’re open) which is a Black Woman owned business. We in there!

    • Alessandro De Medici

      Very interesting choice of color: “RED” ijs.

      • nillalatte

        Right?! I thought the same.

        • Alessandro De Medici

          Communism is cool again in the age of Trump, i guess. Hope those who partake know that’s pretty much what the organizers of the movement are implying, it’s not like you need a color code to protest against Trump.

          • esa

            i could be wrong, but they dont even seem to organized on a philosophical level. it appears to me that they are simply capitalizing on an historic event (that most people in this country are unaware of, smh) to add a layer of “symbolism” and “significance” to the narrative.

            it strikes me as a conjuring trick, like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat

            • Alessandro De Medici

              Previous communist movements relied heavily on intelligentsia-hierarchies to drive the movement. So as long as the leaders get the ideology and can talk the followers in the right direction, it didn’t really matter much what those who were partaking knew or didn’t know.

              Plus, red is pretty blatant. They could just be doing it to troll the right wing media, including the talk show radio hosts.

              • esa

                do you think the organizer are communist ?

                • Alessandro De Medici

                  They did say that people should wear “red” today lol.

                  They’re either in it for the trolling, or in it for real.

                  • Kylroy

                    We really don’t need the left engaging in the same brand of “u mad bro?” posing that turned Pepe into a white supremacist meme.

          • I’m not surprised. Over the past 20 years, organizers of left-leaning political protests tend to be way to the left of the mass of protestors. The organizers still think communism could still work with some better planning. Yeah…miss me with that.

            • “The organizers still think communism could still work with some better planning”

              We don’t agree on much politically but this is one of those things.

            • Alessandro De Medici

              Yeah, if you’re a communist in the 21st century and not one of the “revisionary types”, you’re kind of dangerous. But yeah, you can tell, with the Antifa types, that people actually think they can figure it out in the end.

          • nillalatte

            No dear. that’s not the message. Wearing the same colors simply means you are visible, together. We’re on the same team. That’s all.

            And, I have been doing my fair share to not only protest Trump, but this shyt show of what some call government. We’re cultivating leaders of tomorrow.

            • Alessandro De Medici

              Ehm, red is a very specific color, especially in the realm of the modern radical politics.

              Furthermore, there are branches of feminism that do subscribe to various forms and elements of communism, there are others that don’t but hey somehow color red aught to symbolize the event.

              @Esa also showed that it is a 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution. The people organizing the movement chose Hump Day, a day people actually have to work on and the day afterwards, for them to protest. They likely chose the day based on the date, as opposed to when they thought it would work for most women, to come out and have their voices heard.

              You saying “that’s all” is purposely ignoring context, or a less positive view of what other things could be influencing the events of the day. I mean last time I checked my crayola box for example, there were a ton of options outside of red for protester to wear to show their solidarity.

              People should question the funders and leaders of their movements, and shouldn’t be caught up in the rhetoric of radicalism and resistance, to think that they are somehow incapable of being led astray because of solidarity and goodwill.

              We’ve seen this story play out before in history…you’d expect people to be more cautious, but then again, it is the Trump era.

              • nillalatte

                Look, I didn’t chose the color. I’m participating. I’m really not up to arguing about the chosen color and the why for too’s. Please feel free to reach out and educate the organizers.

                • Alessandro De Medici

                  I don’t think you’re getting my point.

      • esa

        today is 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution. no coincidence here.

  • I can dig it. As a happy cisgendered man, this isn’t my fight. However women want to demonstrate their worth is fine by me. I’m just not going to cape for it as a way to feel self-righteous. I can let women do their thing without having to get a dopamine hit to sate my ego.

    Somewhat unrelated, I saw this video that’s a part of this sociology project being done by NYU. In it, the presidential debates between Trump and Hillary are redone by actors of the opposite gender. It made me think how much of what’s considered pwerful is gendered. I particularly loathed the male Hillary, but realized that it was because he came off feminine. Thoughts?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yC7-JsR2Fk

    • Alessandro De Medici
      • #facts In the vid, the woman does come off as Lisa Lampanelli with money.

      • Mary Burrell

        That Lampanelli is vile and disgusting

    • What the heII does “cisgendered” mean? I keep seeing “cis” used as a prefix but haven’t done my Googles yet. Is this a new term?

      • You identify as the gender assigned to you at birth.

        • Okay. Makes sense. When did that term come about?

          • I started hearing it last year from various feminists.

          • According to Wiki it was being used as far back as 1991. I’ve only heard it used as far back as 2012.

      • This definition of cisgendered works for me: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth $ex.

      • miss t-lee

        Relatively new.

        • Okay. I guess I don’t hang around that part of the Internet.

          • miss t-lee

            I’ve only seen it in the last two years or so.

      • BrothasKeeper

        It means your car is factory, and you haven’t made any aftermarket additions.

    • SoonToBeMrs

      Why did you point out being cisgender??

    • I hollered this the entire campaign. Turns out I wasn’t crazy. Also, as a cis-man it feels a bit subjugating to think women need me to represent for them but it feels like I should do something more.

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      It’s cause he didn’t man up, an option not available to Hillary.

      HOWEVER, having got into it with sistas and watched it go down from three sidelines – Hillary could have woman’d up and met Trump with a level of zingers and ad HOMINEMS that would have showed him to be the buffoon that he is.

      Having been on the receiving end of such cheap parlor tricks I know how effective they can be.

      Turn a big bad man into all imbecile.

      Just a few variations of “talking loud and saying nothing” was really all she needed. Could have sprinkled a bit of “you getting beat by a girl” just to rile him up more.

      *insert rest of election analysis here*

      • Alessandro De Medici

        She could have gone so far, if she had said:

        “This guy is literally a buffoon.”

        • TheCollinB

          Why she never said that still gives me pause.

          • esa

            she fights dirty behind the scenes. in the public eye she plays to the appearances of being a “good person.”

            • TheCollinB

              She played herself but truthfully I think she’s shown what she’s about post election. If she was really with the shyts she’d be out there like Bernie Sanders still thuggin. She prolly hasn’t even picked up that white pants suit from the cleaners yet.

              • esa

                she has always been an pragmatist. what’s in it for her to fight with no actual power base? she played her cards and lost. she dipped.

                Bernie still got power. he got no reason to fold. i dont see him as a foil. whereas Obama’s first move was to sign that $60M book deal. let’s see what happens next.

                • Kylroy

                  And let’s not forget she’s 69. I can’t fault her for deciding that she’s finished her run in the public eye.

                  • esa

                    she was gonna do 4 years in one of the most stressful jobs on earth. curious that, when the Democrats need leadership like never before, she would consider bowing out due to age.

                    • Kylroy

                      I don’t think it’s age as much as general fatigue. And given the mountain made out of the molehill that was the DNC Chair decision, I can see her deciding she’d do more harm than good by hanging around.

              • cdj

                I hear what you’re saying, but at the same time, she tried to let everybody know what Trump was about, and people weren’t trying to hear her. Just thinking about her as a human being, and not a politician, she’s probably mentally and physically exhausted. Honestly, after everything, I would’ve done the same thing she did, said “eff yall” and gone for a long walk in the woods.

        • Kylroy

          See, I don’t think it would have helped. In the debates, she already made the guy look like an idiot to anyone who was capable of seeing him as one. Anybody who voted for him after he said “No it’s you. You’re the puppet. You” would not have been swayed by her calling him a buffoon.

    • “M”
      • I saw the first link yesterday. But the larger point stands. I’m not going to speak for what’s best for a woman because I’m not a woman. All I can do clear whatever path women decide on for their own freedom.

        • “M”

          ” I’m not going to speak for what’s best for a woman because I’m not a woman.”

          That makes sense.

          It’s also an entirely different statement from the one you made previously.

  • TheCollinB

    “For me, however, civil rights shouldn’t be measured by manufactured camaraderie.”

    *sings the chorus of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone”*

    After the streets clear, and life goes on what was accomplished on this day will be nothing compared to the actual work done in your house, office or community. It looks cool tho.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      Comes in with a smooth:

      Daaaaaylight……

        • Valerie

          This gif is a relationship goal. Dancing, flower shirt, champagne, and what looks like wedding dresses in the background.

          • I need to buy more floral shirts.

            • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

              My freshman year in college I had a Korean roommate from Stone Mountain, GA who wore nothing but Hawaiian shirts every day.

              • because he was fly

                • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                  He was amusing.

                  • TheCollinB

                    He was the reason I passed freshman year.

                    *fixed*

                    • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                      No, but a white roommate was the reason I passed calculus sophomore year.

                    • TheCollinB

                      Was it a White Mike or a legitimate flip flops in winter white kid?

                    • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                      Flip flops, no coolness or wokeness about him whatsoever. The kind of guy who got perfect SAT scores and you knew because he told you. He was irritating AF 90% of the time, but he really saved me in calculus.

              • TheUnsungStoryteller

                He sounds like a guy who had high self-esteem.

                • Kas loves Jamaican Breakfast

                  He was super comfortable in his skin.

            • (hipster gear)

            • TheCollinB
              • https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/734ee80582dd2b653a21a52abfa2817e4e69c9b2ecdd124f44ad3af2acbf8259.jpg

                I only got one I just realized you can’t see the floral pattern though :'(

                • TheCollinB

                  I only have one. Am I missing the wave on the floral tho or is this just a Ricky thing.

                  • I only know about my own wave. I just dig flowers

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      What kind of flowers?!? Do not say roses.

                    • I’m a tulips man. I love a good Iris as well.

                    • SoonToBeMrs

                      Omg. I Loooove tulips and lillies. My favorite. I’ll look up Iris. So for our movie whatever have em on deck.

                    • TheCollinB

                      I thought you were going to say lotus…

                    • Val

                      Shade.

                    • TheCollinB

                      Not even. My best years of hating are behind me. I wanna see Ricky prosper.

                    • TheCollinB

                      I dig

                    • Valerie

                      Lilies?

                    • They are indeed dope.

                    • Valerie

                      My favorite flower.

                • SoonToBeMrs

                  I can see Hawaii.

                • Val

                  Hipster.

                  • SoonToBeMrs

                    Got that BK fake deep/vegan only vibe. Wearing Vanz (bleh)

                  • I am literally the least hipster person VSB

                    • Now convinced you don’t actually know what this word means.

                    • TheCollinB

                      iDied

                    • We just live in parallel universes

                    • In MY universe, the definition of hipsters is correct. Fyi.

                • Get straight paisley wit it.

                • Tam

                  Dayum you have not aged! Vampire, beware

                  • That’s just last year at AfroPunk

                    • Valerie

                      You go to AfroPunk? I always wanted to go lol

                    • Come down this August. It’s always fun. I’ve been going the last 5 years.

                • Valerie

                  YES!!!!

              • Val

                Collin?

                • TheCollinB

                  Valerie?

                  • Val

                    Yeah, where is Valerie? But back to my point, is that you?

                    • TheCollinB

                      In some aspects.

                      Edit: is your name not short for Valerie?

                    • Val

                      It is not.

                    • TheCollinB

                      TF. Val you continue to defy all norms.

                      That’s me though. Please don’t be rude, I’m sensitive.

                    • Val

                      Lol You are very presentable. I’d walk down the street with you. :-)

                    • TheCollinB

                      Thank Valeria.

                    • Val

                      Lol It’s Valentina.

                    • TheUnsungStoryteller

                      I need to use that as a compliment one day. Lol

                    • Valerie

                      I had to scroll by up. My style is quirky, vintage and colorful so that’s why I like weird patterns lol

              • Valerie
                • TheCollinB

                  I am, but thank you none the less.

                  • Valerie

                    I like the shirt. I like the vintage look it has. I’m all about weird, vintage, colorful clothes lol

                  • Mr. Mooggyy

                    Allow me to expound on the GIF! This is what you just did! ***Daps*** LOL

                    https://youtu.be/xJ9hKcDG2xA

                    • Valerie

                      I love this scene from the movie. She was being such a witch before until she heard him start singing lol

              • Formidable, cuz.

                • TheCollinB

                  I wish I could say I bought the shirt on a dare but truthfully I just thought it was saucy and in my head I imagine myself to be a saucy n*gga.

                  • Lol I’m not mad at that.

            • Valerie

              Yes. I like fitted floral shirts. It’s weird I know

          • I dunno the context but it’s Winston from New Girl, who I really liked the few episodes I sat through.

            • Valerie

              I just want the guy I’m with to be happy with me and have champagne in his hand. I also like floral patterns lol

              • TheUnsungStoryteller

                #realmenwearfloralpatterns

        • TheCollinB

          Don’t you close your eyes.

        • Catfish Jenkins

          Ninjas creepin’…

      • BrothasKeeper

        Prince is all up and through that song.

        • HouseOfBonnets

          if you want it yeaaaaah

    • Valerie

      I have been listening to this song all morning. It is a very relaxing song to code to lol

  • Kat

    I’m not doing it. For the same reasons I didn’t support the Million Women March.

    With the basic one being I’m tired of supporting folks that only need US when they are getting dragged.
    By us I mean black women, black skin any skin that isn’t white. I discussed the vote well before November and remember stating that white women would be the determining factor. And they were. And they are leading the charge on all these protests…after the fact.

    • Valerie

      “With the basic one being I’m tired of supporting folks that only need US when they are getting dragged”
      Yes. I agree.

    • I agree with this the most. I won’t begrudge someone their activism. It’s hard. Even to do poorly. But I do get mad at how much people ignore black women until they need us as bodies or caregivers.

      • TheUnsungStoryteller

        “Oh…can I take a picture with you so I can show all my Facebook and Instagram friends how much of a social advocate I am for your people? K. Thanks.”

    • pls

      Looking back I was unimpressed with the idea of another protest, and especially under the guise of feminism…but the next county over got school canceled bc of all the absence requests from teachers, so I shipped for today…but they can kick rocks and by they I mean anybody not black.

      • Pamela C.

        And even the school cancellations are problematic in some ways. A lot of families rely on school meals to make sure their kids are able to eat. Canceled school means no breakfast, snack, lunch for a lot of kids.

        • Kat

          Awesome point. People forget that those two meals are sometimes the only meals those kids have. Maybe momma too.

    • NonyaB?

      Kat stays forecasting the weather in more ways than one: Socially and meteorologically! Socio-meteorologist? ?

      • Kat

        LMAO…I’ll take that.

    • Marceline

      Let’s not forget our so-called allies on the left. I’m sure Susan Sarandon is patting herself on the back.

      • Kat

        And you know this…

    • Eri Cad

      I am currently participating but not by NOT coming to work. I’m at work wearing red and making donations to causes that help women and any shopping will be done at women or minority owned business today. I also voted for Hilary in Nov. to each his/her own but I most definitely co-sign on “I’m tired of supporting folks that only need US when they are getting dragged.”

      • Kat

        This idea of not working only works for those who can afford to miss a day of work. Let’s be honest, whose the majority in that regard?

    • TheUnsungStoryteller

      They clearly wasn’t shooting with us in the gym.

    • BenDover

      And you know the privilege kicks in when not a single person is arrested or attacked by the cops or there’s a lack of cops in riot gear *refer to iconic pic of black young lady simply standing and riot cops were ready to pop off*. In fact I wonder if riot cops did start something if it would affect the willingness of ywemeanz continuation with their protest actions.

    • ms. nylahou

      I agree with you 1000%. They’re so outraged over a man who so far has only talked and not put forth policies that would impact women’s rights. So what are they protesting against specifically, and what do they want? Yet they were so quiet when Sandra Bland’s rights were impacted. And when Leslie Jones was attacked on Twitter. This is all just a way for liberal white women to vent about not getting what they want, for once. And to have Instagram moments.

  • Thanks for this. I’ve been largely “meh” about participating, but I also have felt like “if people want to participate in this thing, let them do it.” I saw a rant from a SAHM that got really preachy and really didn’t get the scope of the event. I’m in my head thinking “she’s over here decrying feminism but that’s the reason why she can choose to be a SAHM.” I might just be a little overwhelmed/overloaded by all of the things to be mad at lately, so there’s that.

  • “The real reason I am tapping out of this moment is because I am tired of couching my humanity in the value I provide to the others around me.”

    The entire point of human rights is that you deserve to be treated as human because you are human- someone who breathes, eats, reproduces, loves, and thinks, and that political government exists to allow you do exercise those practices without infringing on other’s rights to do so.

    Linking our freedom to social contributions just leads to the question of who judges the value of our contributions. With women in this nation, that would be men, and men have never valued the contributions of women.

  • Diego Duarte

    Spot on.

    These organized events and hypocritical as fuck holidays are nothing more than thinly veiled misconceptions which hijack the very cause of the movement they claim to defend.

    We should not defend anyone based on the value they provide, or what they represent. We should defend people regardless, because they are human. Trying to condition respect for women and minorities based on their contributions to mankind is admitting a priori that without those contributions they would essentially be worthless.

    A human existence deserves validation and respect, regardless of the form it takes. And nobody should be having to risk bodily harm just to demand that basic respect we all deserve.

    • LMNOP

      + a million.

      You don’t have to do a thing but exist to deserve basic human rights and to deserve to be defended when people try to take them away.

    • True but we are sooooooooo not there yet. Step in the right direction? (No pun intended)

      • Diego Duarte

        Point taken. These marches demonstrate force, and our capitalist overlords NEED to see displays of force.

        Also guillotines.

        • That’s the inconsistency about these things. They call attention but don’t call to action.

          • Diego Duarte

            Sometimes it feels like these marches, which are nothing more than displays nowadays, have been solely reduced to the physical manifestation of a “like” on facebook. And therefore are about just as useful.

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              *signs your online petition*
              *wears your t-shirt*

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Yeah, more guillotines less hashtags

          • TheCollinB

            “Fuck hashtags and retweets n*gga, a hundred and forty characters in these streets n*gga!”

            There’s a Jigga quote for everything.

          • Annalise Keating

            Dang!

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              *sharpens cutlass*

  • LMNOP

    I wonder how many people are participating in this. I hadn’t even heard of it, but I work with only women in a very female field (child care) and everyone’s at work.

    Also, the mandated reporter in me doesn’t like the idea of women taking off both paid and unpaid work. If you feel the urge to let the dishes go to make a political statement, sure, have fun with that. But who is going to not feed or care for their children? Hopefully not many people.

    • esa

      Complex magazine closed its office today. that’s the biggest thing i’ve seen thus far.

      • LMNOP

        Interesting, I think there are huge variations in who can really participate in this.

        I mean there are an awful lot of women in nursing, and if they all didn’t show up to work, people might die.

        • Amber

          I’ve heard a few school districts close for the day because so many teachers called off. The issue is in my opinion what about that working parent who has to figure out childcare with school being out.

        • esa

          exactly. my timeline is predominantly the media and the art world; they have a great deal of personal liberty.

        • Mary Burrell

          Well all the nurses were at work were i work

    • BatmansExWife

      Well, all of my co-workers are here. Not many people got the memo. Or care.

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