50 reasons we need International Women's Day

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      It may be hard to believe, but we aren't living in an idyllic post-feminism utopia.

      Sadly, we still live in a world where people are not treated with equal respect and dignity.

      For me, International Women's Day is a day to remember and reflect upon the true aims of feminism, which involve leveling the playing field for everyone, irrespective of gender—to create a world where everyone feels safe, secure, and loved.

      To that end, here are 50 reasons we need International Women's Day.

      1. Because if you call yourself a feminist, you're often stereotyped and/or written off by too many people.
      2. Because we spend so much time debating the usefulness of the word feminism instead of focusing on the systemic problems that need to be fixed.
      3. Because I get propositioned by strangers on Granville Street for sex.
      4. Because I get propositioned on every street for sex.
      5. Because there are so many spaces in which I just don't feel safe.
      6. Because commenters feel it necessary to pick apart my appearance instead of my words.
      7. Because strangers on the Internet think it's okay to call women sluts, cunts, bitches, and whores.
      8. Because people insist on qualifying the word rape: "legitimate rape","forcible rape", "bad sexual etiquette", "grey rape", and "the rape spectrum".
      9. Because Paul Ryan thinks rape is just another method of conception
      10. Because some Republicans actually believe that rape is part of God's plan.
      11. Because nearly one in five women will be raped in her lifetime.
      12. Because nearly one in two women will experience some form of sexual assault in her lifetime.
      13. Because every minute, 24 people are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States.
      14. Because PETA finds no problem in exploiting women to "help" the animals.
      15. Because of the overwhelming levels of sexism in video games.
      16. Because of that disgusting "We Saw Your Boobs" song at the Oscars.
      17. Because Bic came out with a line of pink lady pens.
      18. Because only 24 percent of science, technology, engineering and mathematics workforce is female.
      19. Because men are still socialized to hide their feelings.
      20. Because when a man takes his wife's name in Florida, he gets accused of fraud
      21. Because one in 71 men will be raped in his lifetime and one in five will experience some form of sexual violence.
      22. Because we still get told that women aren't funny
      23. Because asshole comedians think they can make rape jokes with impunity.
      24. Because only 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions are held by women.
      25. Because even though record numbers of women MPs were elected in Canada in 2011, women still only make up 25 percent of MPs.
      26. Because Conservatives are completely obsessed with vaginas.
      27. Because Rush Limbaugh thinks it perfectly acceptable to reduce female voters to their sexual organs and nobody takes this buffoon off the air. 
      28. Because too many people believe an adult women's rights aren't as important as the "rights" of a fetus.
      29. Because Savita Halappanavar needlessly died because she couldn't get a medically necessary abortion in Ireland.
      30. Because this week Arkansas passed an unconstitutional ban on abortion after 12 weeks.
      31. Because last year I had to watch my elected government officials vote on private member’s motion M-312, which would reopen the abortion debate in Canada.
      32. Because Rona Ambrose, the Status of Women Minister, voted in favour of M-312.
      33. Because Conservative MPs Maurice Vellacott, Leon Benoit, and Wladyslaw Lizon see nothing wrong in wanting to investigate late-term abortions as homicides.
      34. Because of the RCMP's alleged mistreatment of women.
      35. Because it was a year-long battle in the U.S. to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
      36. Because women feel so unsafe in some places that women-only passenger cars on subways exist.
      37. Because a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang raped and killed in India.
      38. Because when Reeva Steenkamp was killed, tabloids felt it was appropriate to splash half-naked modelling photos of her all over their pages.
      39. Because a woman's behaviour and appearance are constantly policed, even by other women.
      40. Because I'm sick of how every article about the show Girls has to mention Lena Dunham's physical appearance.
      41. Because people think it's okay to analyze our premier's cleavage.
      42. Because our premier won't stick up for herself as a woman and instead titters at men who sexualize her
      43. Because how women like Taylor Swift and Anne Hathaway are routinely slammed in the press for doing shocking things like dating and being effusive with thank yous.
      44. Because the media feels it necessary to manufacture divisions between women.
      45. Because girls are told not to wear short skirts because they are too distracting to boys.
      46. Because women are sluts and men are studs.
      47. Because of the kind of comments that precipitate the need for events like SlutWalk.
      48. Because the girl who was raped at a rave in Port Coquitlam in 2010 had her perpetrator walk away scot-free
      49. Because of Amanda Todd.
      50. Because when I say things like this, I am told to lighten up, get a sense of humour, or calm the fuck down.

      Got anything to add to the list? Post it in the comments below.




      Mar 8, 2013 at 12:02pm

      I stopped at 3 and 4. Propositioning for sex or being propositioned for sex is not an inherently gendered or feminist issue. Indeed, there's nothing immoral or oppressive about expressing an interest in having sex with somebody.

      You might find it forward or inappropriate, but that's your personal preference. Many people - men and women alike - would rather know somebody's intentions up front, then waste time under the assumption that they're interested in something more.

      Now, harassment is something entirely different. If somebody propositions you for sex, you decline, and they don't take no for answer, start invading your personal space, or otherwise act threatening, then that is definitely an issue. And the fact that some men feel entitled to act that way IS a good reason for Women's Day.

      Miranda Nelson

      Mar 8, 2013 at 12:08pm

      51. Because male commenters can't be bothered to read a list of 50 items without stopping to mansplain something to me.

      52. Because if I don't explain the exact circumstances of being propositioned for sex by male strangers--the badgering, the harassment, the getting in my space, the touching and groping, the occasional physical assault--it's not a good enough anecdote for some people. Would you care to ask me what I was wearing at the time, too?

      Read the whole list. You might learn something.


      Mar 8, 2013 at 12:11pm

      53. Because I love the sound of my own voice.


      Mar 8, 2013 at 12:15pm

      "Because if I don't explain the exact circumstances of being propositioned for sex by male strangers--the badgering, the harassment, the getting in my space, the touching and groping, the occasional physical assault--it's not a good enough anecdote for some people. Would you care to ask me what I was wearing at the time, too?"

      To be fair, what you are describing is harassment. What you listed was 'propositioned'. He has a point.

      What you were wearing? Are you really drawing a comparison between a person saying it's ok to ask people if they want to have sex with victim blaming rape victims?

      That is truly pathetic.

      Stephen Hui

      Mar 8, 2013 at 12:15pm


      Read reason #51 again.


      Mar 8, 2013 at 12:19pm

      No, you're absolutely right, we definitely need a day to draw attention to the evils of people propositioning each other for sex without any form of harassment whatsoever.

      One day Stephen, we will rid the world of this oppressive plight. You are a courageous warrior against injustice sir.

      The rest of the list is good stuff.


      Mar 8, 2013 at 12:59pm

      I have to agree with David a TINY bit. Being propositioned isn't a problem - being harassed is. Part of the problem is sugar coating harassment by calling it propositioning, gives wiggle room to those who want to argue just like sugar coating rape by calling it "date rape" or sugar coating assault by calling it harassment....slippery slope and all.


      Mar 8, 2013 at 1:44pm

      Maybe you could celebrate today with a midol?


      Mar 9, 2013 at 11:34pm

      Asking someone you've met if they'd like to have sex is one thing. Walking down the street and being propositioned for sex by a stranger is another. The former acknowledges their "intentions up front" while the latter is purely objectification by assuming that a woman is present and must therefore be sexed immediately. No one deserves to feel like their sole purpose is to be a sexual object for an entire gender.

      Martin Dunphy

      Mar 10, 2013 at 12:13am

      Thank you, Natalie.
      Take that, Samantha.