Trying to mirror the success of the post-inagural Women’s March, a Day Without Women failed to live up to the “disruptive” expectations.
I still maintain the large turnout at the Women’s March in January was due to so many women who’d already purchased tickets to see Hillary inaugurated. Her embarassing electoral loss left them with non-refundable tickets, and so they attended a march instead. But I digress…
Turns out, not everyone is privileged enough to abdicate their responsibilities for the sake of attention.
As for the ladies of Legal Insurrection? We were all here. Working.
Some would-be participants couldn’t afford to take off or even give their lady employees a full day off. It’s always a shame when basic economics foil a good activist plan:
The day was heady with symbolism, celebrated largely on social media, with hashtags and color. Women delighted in the timing of a power failure in New York: The Statue of Liberty had gone dark, as if the nation’s most iconic woman was taking the day off, too. Later, the news broke that a new sculpture had landed on Wall Street. The famed roaring bull is now being stared down by a “Fearless Girl.”
Protests and marches took place across the country, with pockets of impact: At least three school districts in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland closed for the day because so many teachers went on strike.
Writer and bed-and-breakfast owner Jessica Ullian was also unsure how to mark the day. She couldn’t take the day off and leave everything for her husband (and inn co-owner) to handle, and just wearing red and frequenting women-owned businesses didn’t seem like enough. Then on Wednesday morning, her neighbor suggested staging a walkout. Ullian quickly printed up fliers and got a group of women from her co-working space in Coolidge Corner to join in a lunchtime demonstration, along with a few women from the Dellaria salon next door and a woman walking by whose mobile app company had given her the day off.
“Doing it by myself didn’t feel like participating in the movement,” Ullian said.
Eveline Buchatskiy, director of the Boston program for startup accelerator Techstars, gave her three female staffers the day off, although one showed up anyway. “She thought it was a joke,” Buchatskiy said.
Gianne Doherty shut the doors of her Organic Bath Co. in Charlestown at 2 p.m. to give her female employees half the day off, but Marianna Clark of Waxing the City near North Station could not do the same for her all-female staff. Closing for the day would have cost her at least $1,500, she said, and would have cost her staff valuable commissions and tips. Instead, she planned to order in lunch and dinner for her staff from women-owned restaurants in the North End. She also offered chocolates and complimentary lip waxes for customers, though she wasn’t sure if she would get a bump in business from women taking the day off.
And then there was the moral dilemma of the privileged:
For Sonya Green, figuring out what to do was a struggle. Green, who lives in Cambridge and works remotely for a Seattle-based tech firm, wrestled with the idea that only privileged women could afford to go on strike.
But she finally decided it was about standing up for those who couldn’t. At midnight, she messaged her coworkers about her plans and spent the day promoting local events on social media and attending a rally at Downtown Crossing.
Still, Green wasn’t entirely sure how much of an impact she was having.
“It’s a weird day,” she said.
My personal favorite was the guidance issued on the official Women’s March website. They provided the following out of office template for Day Without Women participants:
[Your personal greeting]
Thank you for your email. I’m out of the office today to participate in the Women’s March on Washington’s Day Without A Woman in observance of International Women’s Day. I am not working today and will respond to your message tomorrow. For anything urgent, please contact [Insert name of male colleague covering your work, if applicable].
[Insert your name]
“I’m sitting at home, adorned in Soviet Red so everyone will know how valuable I am. While I’m out, the patriarchy is taking care of their business and mine. But that’s just because I’m so valuable. Did I mention how valuable my contribition to society is? VALUABLE.”
A few school districts cancelled school creating major problems for parents suddenly scrambling to find childcare, aaaand, that’s pretty much it. There was no disruption of service otherwise, no grand national impact or even local impact, aside from a few small annoyances.
There was no national revelation of women’s crucial role in society. But is anyone really arguing women don’t play a vital role in their communities? Seems like the same, tired schtick — creating an argument where none exists. It exploits the ignorance of the few desperate for some kind of relevancy on the moral self-righteousness plane. And the end result is always the same and perfectly summed up by one confused pseudo participant — “it’s a weird day.”
If a Day Without Women accomplished anything, it was to prove once again just how silly, unserious, annoying, and ideologically inconsistent neo-feminism has become.
And remind me, when will we be celebrating International Men’s Day? Oh. Right.
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