March officially marks Women’s History Month, and within it, International Women’s Day. It’s a time to reflect on women’s contributions to the world and appreciate the strong women who have shaped our lives and our history, while also reflecting on the inequalities women have faced over generations.
A recent article by the Washington Post raises a good point about having a month dedicated to Women’s History Month. While I agree that these celebrations are imperative and should be highly celebrated, Women’s History Month unintentionally reinforces the idea that “when women do something, it’s called ‘women’s history,’ and when men do something, it is simply called ‘history.’” Women have shaped this country, and now that it is 2020, it shouldn’t just be a section in our history books. In this past year alone, multiple women are running for the Presidency, the first all-female spacewalk occurred, and a young girl named Greta Thunberg made a powerful impact through a global climate strike.
This isn’t just passing news. It’s time to view these stories as part of our overall history, not with a sexist lens.
Consistently throughout the years, women have taken charge and have fought against many stereotypes. However, as we know, certain ideologies of women still linger, regardless of how our society has evolved. A recent viral video has brought a lot of attention to women’s inequalities – “Be a lady they said,” narrated by Cynthia Nixon. She points out the constant pressures that women face, including loops of contradictory statements on how women are told to act. “You’re too dressed up, you’re too dressed down…Don’t talk too loud, don’t talk too much, don’t be intimidating… don’t say yes, don’t say no.” These are not statements that are shocking to hear as a female viewer. Rather, these ideologies are ingrained in the back of our minds. Even if we don’t believe or agree with them, we are constantly aware of them. The video has a powerful message, one that resonates with a lot of women who face constant reminders on how to act and look on a daily basis. We are pinned to be perfect, however as the famous quote goes, “well behaved women rarely make history.”
It’s honestly shocking to think that one-hundred years have passed since the Women’s suffrage movement, and women are still dealing with these reminders, or “pressures” of how we should act. In the past century humans have gone to the Moon, built self-driving cars, and harnessed the power of computers in the palm of our hands, but god forbid if a woman looks or acts a certain way…
This month reminds us that it’s important to celebrate each other, and to continue to stand up to the inequalities that we face on a daily basis. Women have made incredible achievements, and we must fight to build a society where all efforts are recognized as equal in significance. Maybe then, it won’t matter how we dress, talk, or act.