International Women’s Day Faux Pas

international-womens-day

International Women’s Day was on March 8th.  This day was also the day we lost an hour due to daylight savings time.  In true patriarchal fashion, International Women’s Day only got 23 hours instead of 24 (feminist humour).  Over 5000 people came out to participate in the International Women’s Day March.  There were signs about all different types of issues pertaining to women including sex trafficking, missing and murdered Indigenous women, Islamaphobia, the need for universal child care, violence against women, pay gaps, racism, precarious work and many more.  As with most discussions and events about women, there is always someone doing something they should not be doing.  We will call these International Women’s Day Faux-Pas:

Asking why there is no International Men’s Day:
This seems to be the most popular question of the day.  There actually is an International Men’s Day, it’s on November 19th yet no men seem to discuss it until March 8th.  It’s not our fault you didn’t organize a march.

Telling women what to wear:
At the rally before the march, there were a lot of groups with signs, petitions and flyers for different causes.  The last group before entering the OISE auditorium, where the rally was held, was a single man yelling loudly and carrying a sign that said “no to the hijab”.  The organizers and general consensus of those in attendance is that our feminism is inclusive and intersectional.  That means a woman should be able to choose what she wears based on her own beliefs, including a hijab.  Go home “no to hijabs” man

Being a white feminist:
A white feminist doesn’t literally mean you are white and a feminist.  It means you practice white feminism which is the western status quo of feminism.  It’s exclusive, oppressive and further marginalizes other groups.  It’s made up of a demographic of white women that do not experience other forms of marginalization and view their brand of feminism as better and more “real”.  Check out a list of shit white feminists need to stop doing here: http://bellejar.ca/2015/03/08/4389/

Being the ally that takes up too much space:
Many men joined the International Women’s Day March which is great but allies always have to be mindful of the space they are taking up.  No one likes that guy at the women’s event who is obnoxiously loud, wants to be in the front and keeps running into women.

The street harasser tactics:
Businesses often use street harassment tactics to sell.  Their employees are out on the street trying to talk to you or shouting their message at you.  The entire pathway to the rally was filled with these people shouting, forcing pamphlets in your hands and continuing to yell in your ear.  Street harassment is an issue women deal with daily and using its tactics is not cool.  All of these causes were important and I would support them.  A table with some information would have sufficed.

Bringing zip ties to the march:
Here’s looking at you Toronto Police Services.  As with any march that takes place on a city street, the police are there to escort us on their bikes.  They are often cold, unfriendly and look unhappy to be there.  There never seems to be any female officers at these kinds of events, which would be appropriate.  One of the cops riding a bike happened to leave the bag on the back of his bike unzipped.  Sticking out of the bag was a bunch of zip ties used to bind peoples hands during mass arrests.  Excuse me Toronto Police… what were you expecting to happen?  What were you planning to do?  Did you bring 5000 of those?