Celebrating women

International Women’s Day… what does that mean to me?

It seem silly to celebrate women. It almost gives us this sense of entitlement; a little selfish, even.

“Why should women get a day??”

I get it. It sounds ridiculous…

I’ve seen the memes and celebratory posts circulating on Social Media, and some make me laugh, some give me a sense of empowerment, some ring true, and some make me see how much further we have to go.

Let’s talk about a little history:

In 1884 married women were granted the same rights as men to be able to legally own property.

In 1909 it becomes a criminal offence to kidnap a woman. Yes, you’re reading that. Prior to this year it was legal to abduct a woman over the age of 16.

By 1918 all Caucasian women can vote federally – but it takes until the fifties for provincial voting… and even longer for aboriginal women.

In 1983 they deem sexual assault, including rape, within a relationship a crime.

Women have had to ask for permission, have been beaten by their husbands, and have fought for rights to their own bodies. We didn’t have a say in the babies we carried, nor did we get maternity leave. The list goes on and on.

So when you look at the history, there are so many forward strides to get us here. And for that I am honoured and proud to be a woman.

So yes. Let’s celebrate what we have accomplished. It doesn’t mean we are entitled to a day off – but we should honour and recognize those who gave so much of themselves so we can have what have today.

But can we do better? Can we command more from our fellow females?

Along with the “strong women” posts, I see the diet culture ones. You know the ones…

“Who wants to lose weight from drinking coffee!”

“Ugh, I need to lose ten pounds. I’m SO fat.”

Comments about missing the gym, the guilt, the shame from eating pizza, the “ew cellulite!” jabs.

We’ve come so far, yet we are so hard on our own selves. We have so much to celebrate, yet we choose to self destruct.

I think our next move needs to involve self acceptance. Less hating on our bodies, less buying into diet culture and spending our money carelessly on solutions to problems that needn’t solving.

We are beautiful creatures with stories of triumph. Bare your scars and battle wounds with pride. Your lumps and bumps and sagging skin are signs of life; it means you lived rather than existed.

Here’s to strong women: may we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.

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