International Women’s Day: Amen Awomen!
International Women’s Day was recently celebrated around the world while Women’s History Month continues in the United States until the end of March. These events mark the accomplishments of women throughout history, and celebrate the hardships they had to endure in order to bring them to where they are today. To honor this great day with the excitement and appreciation it deserves, I think it best to go over a brief history of Feminism and the Women’s Rights movement.
It all began in 3760 BC when Eve took a bite of the apple – It was the first time a woman made a decision on her own. Yeah, biting from the forbidden fruit may be considered a ‘bad thing’ and yes, humanity was banished from the Garden of Eden to suffer for all eternity in sin, but hey – it’s a small price to pay for having a voice.
Next came Rebecca. In the year 1900 BC, Isaac (Abraham’s son) fell in love with the biblical beauty. Before claiming her as property, he had his messenger ask for permission, ‘Hey you want go back with this dude and marry him?’ To which she replied, ‘yes.’ This was the first recorded instance of a woman having the right to choose her husband.
Ok great; so we have decision making and marital equality down. What about the real important stuff like jobs, learning, earning degrees and having a position in the World Wrestling Federation?
Let’s jump a few centuries to the Enlightenment, when science and experimentation became trendy. In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft proved women were smart too, when she became the first recognized female philosopher; she even got to print her own book!
Here are some subsequent defining moments:
- 1805: Mary Kies startles male inventors when she becomes the first woman to receive a U.S. patent for her method of weaving straw with silk.
- 1839: Mississippi becomes the first state to grant women the right to hold property in their own name.
- 1903: Marie Curie wins the Nobel Prize in physics for her study of radioactive material
- And finally, in 1920, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified giving women the right to vote.
All this activism came full circle in the 1960’s with the birth of ‘Feminism.’ Women’s liberation was celebrated by burning bras (not the expensive ones from Victoria’s Secret- we’re rebels, not stupid). Soon enough we were everywhere: holding public office, earning good salaries, earning PHDs, serving in the military; heck, we were even priests and rabbis. Finally, we got the equality and respect from men that we deserved.
So now we come to the year 2009. A WikiAnswers user asks:
Is it grammatically correct to use the pronoun ‘men’ when referring to both men and women?
Answer: technically yes, but don’t use it.
Because although it is a grammatically and historically correct term, it’s not socially acceptable.
Hmm… you know what? That’s right! And what’s up with the ‘history’ of the word, it should be herstory. The person who answered that question is obviously a sexist pig.
We’ve come a long way since Neil Armstrong took one step for man, er, peoplekind, what’s a few edits in the MLA guidelines? Speaking of which, why hasn’t a woman walked on the moon yet? Is this a government conspiracy? We all know Hilary should have won… And when is the US Mint going to reprint the bills ‘In God and Goddess We Trust’? What were our fore-parents thinking? I’m sending a letter to the President now! Where is the mailman! I mean mailwoman, I mean fe-mailwoman.
Wait…what was I saying?
This feminism seems like a lot of work. I wonder if animals are ever burdened with these gender issues? I got my answer when I came across this question:
Do man-eating sharks eat women too?
Answer: Yes they do; they don’t discriminate at all.
Wait, let’s pause for a second. Is this the type of equality we want? We have overshot our goals so much so we forget the true essence of feminism. Equality doesn’t necessarily mean being treated the same, it means being treated with respect, and in so doing, defining an equal place in society.
So next time you are on a street corner hailing a cab in your business suit, and the man at your side allows you to get in the first cab, bite your tongue the way Eve bit the apple and get in the damn cab.