March 8. It’s a day easily dismissed, yet important to recognize. International Women’s Day, annually recognized around the world, has come and gone once again. Did women as a gender spend it the right way? Defined by the International Women’s Day official website as a day to, “Celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women,” it’s day for women through and through. After years of fighting for rights and equality that – let’s be blunt – we still don’t have, International Women’s Day allows women to step back and look at the rights we do have. We don’t have it all just yet, but we sure have come a long way. Society gives us this one day to empower, cherish, and celebrate the females that came before us, surround us, and will come after us. It’s our moment to lift up, reach out, and grab hold. No one ever said that being a women was easy, but damn, no one said it would be this hard either.
While International Women’s Day is a moment in which we should stand up as one, in 2016 it seems as if the opposite happened. We live in a social media charged society, in which celebrities rule, thoughts are public, and the internet is both a friend and an enemy. What began with a nude Kim Kardashian selfie, posted on March 7, led to a social media frenzy of commentary, backlash and praise. While some questioned whether this photo liberates women or knocks them down, others asked how her naked body promotes the idea that women are worth more than that. As we have seen time and time again, Kim Kardashian doesn’t back down. Chloe Grace Moretz, 19 year old actress, tweeted towards the reality television star “I truly hope you realize how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than…just our bodies,” to which Kardashian clapped back with a snarky and sassy response. While Moretz was accused of slut-shaming, Kardashian, a 35-year-old mother of two, chose to be a bully in response. Cue the onslaught of commentary from celebrities, socialites, and just about everyone with a Twitter handle, including Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Pink, Amber Rose, and Bella Thorne. The question becomes – at least to me – not who is right and who is wrong, but what in the world happened to this year’s International Women’s Day, a day meant to bring each other up, rather than pull us down.
There's a huge difference in respecting the platform that you're given as a celebrity and "slut shaming" something I never have done and –
— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) March 8, 2016
– would never do
— Chloë Grace Moretz (@ChloeGMoretz) March 8, 2016
let's all welcome @ChloeGMoretz to twitter, since no one knows who she is. your nylon cover is cute boo
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 8, 2016
In a society as unequal as ours, there’s a lot of push against women. There are the conservatives trying to take away our abortion access. There are the men who believe we are undeserving of equal pay. There is Hollywood, who provides roles for women in which they constantly need to be saved. There is the fashion world, making unrealistic body goals the only ones that women are striving for. There are police officers and college officials, who often blame the victims of rape, rather than the rapists. There are schools banning shoulders, thighs, stomachs, and more to protect a boy’s learning environment. There is the government, who taxes tampons as if it’s our choice to bleed monthly and not just a way to pro-create. There’s a lot stacked up against us women. So why are we so stacked up against each other?
In a selfie-crazed, internet obsessed, compare and compete world, the true downfall of women in 2016 is the way that they treat each other. Modesty comes in different forms. Empowerment comes in different ways. Freedom is felt in different experiences. If we, as a gender, can respect our differences, than maybe society can respect us. Despite our differences – differences that are natural for all humans to have – our voices need to be heard now more than ever. A woman is in the running to become president of the United States. Texas is on it’s way to make it nearly impossible for abortion clinics to stay open. As of 2013, there are 31 states in which a rapist can testify for custody of the child if he impregnates a woman. Some states (yet not enough) are finally working to remove the taxes on tampons. Change is happening, some of it incredible and some of it terrifying. It’s our time as a gender similar by our physical attributes, but united by what we experience, to stand together, rather than spread apart.
International Women’s Day 2016 has come and gone and as we all know, time travel has not yet been created. There’s no undoing what we did yesterday and how we spent the day. We must ask ourselves, did we empower? Did we feel strong? Did we inspire? Though we know our strength as women every single day, it will be yet another year before we get another March 8, another day dedicated to celebrating it. And so I have hope that next year we won’t spend it arguing over, commenting on, and losing our minds about a selfie. Instead, let us join together, support one another, and decide to stand as a united group, empowered by one another and dedicated to equalizing our role in this world. It’s not going to happen, unless we choose to make it happen. Here’s to us ladies, let us be surrounded by, inspired by and living as strong women… whether we see them as Kim K, Chloe Grace Moretz, or someone else all together.
Article by Kaylee Denmead for The Untitled Magazine.