What do women really want? If you live in our area, the obvious answer is a day off from work. What do kids want? A day off from school, duh. What do parents want? They want the kids to go to school so they can show up for work and make money for the family. They also want to give the Alexandria school system some serious grief about the decision to cancel school on March 8, but we know that’ll never happen.
I, like firefighters, police, healthcare providers, security personnel, food service producers, transportation workers and other essentials, did not have the luxury of taking March 8 off. Well aware that Daisy needs her morning and evening kibble and three walks precisely on schedule, anything less would have been an egregious dereliction of duty. But despite being 100 percent female chromosomally and not currently questioning my gender, I still have trouble figuring out the point of this “women’s strike.” What’s in it for me, and why should I even care?
Researching the history of “International Women’s Day” online, I confirmed a nagging suspicion that it has a distinctly socialist origin. Wikipedia explains that IWD celebrates, among others, those lovely sisters-in-arms of the Bolshevik revolution who had a major hand in arranging for the Czar and his family to meet their Maker. We are told that in 1917 thousands of amazing Russian women who were tired of war and a poor economy decided to hold a nationwide “bread and peace” strike to force the Czar to abdicate. One might say their efforts were elegantly executed, for shortly thereafter the Czar, his wife and kiddies were all dragged out of the palace and wiped off the face of the earth. I must say that after reading this fabulous account I am very impressed by what determined women who unite together can achieve.
The continuing history of this day around the world also provides a strong clue as to what IWD in its present incarnation might really be about for at least some of its participants: a certain Imperial Family dwelling in the palace at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Truth be told, there are many undeniable parallels. First, there is the iconic Anastasia, er, Ivanka, and all of her precious jewels. Everything about her says “aristocracy.” She should not be allowed to travel in ordinary public conveyances without reproach, sell her fancy clothing and shoes to the rich or work out in gyms also used by us, the proletariat. Ditto for the good-looking and similarly privileged husband, kids, siblings and stepmother. Czar Donald is more of a problem. However, it’s only a matter of time before he is toppled, if not by the force of Saturday Night Live, Hollywood, and the media, then by the brave women of the world striking and wielding their symbolic pitchforks.
If that interpretation of IWD sounds a little violent, know that there’s another contingent of dissatisfied women sending out their own International Women’s Day message. These women say the day is about not showing up for your job so everyone will realize how much they need you. I can totally sympathize with this latter sentiment. Every woman — whether single, married, religious, working, at home, healthy or ill — deserves far more respect and appreciation for carrying out her duties day in and day out.
And all those clueless men? I hate to tell you, ladies, but they say the need for appreciation cuts both ways. They say they just want a Day Without Whining. Those aren’t my words, I promise. I’m just the messenger.