International What Day?

With it being the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD) and all, it’s probably good to say something about it, or join in on the celebration perhaps. I’m generally not one for these ‘Days’. I’m actually quite suspicious of it and believe it could be counteractive to its original purpose many times – note that I did not use the word always but the words many times. Take the classic case of Christmas as an example, being a day on which many, who generally can’t care less about whether Jesus is their only way to eternal salvation or just a crazy clown on the other hand, celebrate his birth as if they value and respect him dearly, or they just eat and drink a lot. But all that aside though, what is the deal with IWD?

It could turn out to be a day on which many (men in particular) celebrate the gift that is women: their beauty, their skill, their intelligence and bravery. Scroll through the status updates of your facebook friends or the tweets of those you follow on twitter, just for interest sake. Do they truly value women or are they also just victims of the system which degrades women around every corner? Do they just celebrate women today for the same reason they will celebrate the world’s proud pirate heritage on Talk Like a Pirate Day on 19 September this year: simply because the day exists and it seems like a good/fun cause ?

It is good that men can acknowledge that some women are just as smart as or even more so than them, yes. It is great that many countries offer women a fair and equal opportunity to reach their full potential in whichever field they feel called to do so. It is many times jokingly mentioned that ‘sometimes the best man for a job is a woman’ but all this does not tell the full story. It certainly does not provide a solution to the reality of what being a woman is all about. Times have changed and so has the world’s view of women – possibly for worse. The ideal is not only that women be respected as equal competitors in ‘a man’s world’ but that men (and other women) acknowledge women as the weaker gender – in the true sense of the word though. Now I know this is not the type of statement  to make on IWD 2011 and in an age where certain groups of people would like us to believe that the only difference between men and women are a few biological parts, anything else that seems different is purely because culture shaped it that way they say.

Instead of weaker, let us say fairer then, as in fragile. Fragile does not mean something is worthless or it is of no use but it does mean that it should be handled with care and protected. Although we see women who can throw the javelin twice as far as many men or outsprint them without even going at full steam, or although you will find many who are mentally way tougher than their male counterparts, we cannot look past the fact that women, as a category, are the main victims of the sexualised state our culture finds itself in. And we all play our various parts in it: men see it as their right and synonymous with their male nature, part of what makes them men mind you, to indulge (or admire as they would put it) in the female body, many women agree and willingly play along as they also recognise it as their role to be there for the men who appreciate the female specimen so greatly, and then there are those of us who are just silent on the matter. We who intend to keep our side of things clean but then get caught up in the web of lust and desire anyway, seeing that it is basically impossible to escape this clever use of women in our society today.

We live in a world where an estimated 27 million people, mostly women and children, are currently being held captive as slaves, usually for sexual purposes in the industries related to prostitution and pornography, and still we take part – either as participants or silent witnesses – in this culture which feeds this lust for more and more women and children. Worst of all, at the end of the day we’re all slaves to this system. We are either the victim or the abuser, the prostitute or the paying client, the porn star or the victim watching, the parent of the trafficked victim or part of the industry promoting more sex.

For this reason I would now like to draw the attention to a specific lady and an initiative whose very fight is to take on this shameless exploitation, many times because it is no longer considered unethical to do so today, of women and children. I recently discovered the work of Melinda Tankard Reist and also Collective Shout with whom she is involved with, and believe that initiatives like this is something worth promoting on International Women’s Day. These ‘Days’ of which I said I’m many times suspicious of is totally worth it if it could be used to engage people and send out a message, so this is my message which I’m sending out.  


” Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. ” –George Orwell




For interest sake: CS Lewis on sexual morality.


About Servaas Hofmeyr

For life through Truth.
This entry was posted in Culture, Ethics, Gender, Human Behaviour, Sexualisation. Bookmark the permalink.

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