A Day Without a Woman and the Politics of Feminist Protest
Posted by Rachel Bezek
March 8, 2017
Following the highly publicized and widely controversial Women’s Marches across America, the next event from the same organization had been announced as A Day without Women. The premise is very simple; what would happen if women did nothing? Literally — a day with none of the labor, emotional support, or aid from women. It is meant to serve as a wake up call, saying “Hey, we’re here too” and pushing everyone to be inconvenienced in just a fraction of the way that women are being inconvenienced by multiple policies.
During the day, women are encouraged to wear red, avoid labor of any kind, and avoid buying anything but local products. We won’t be able to tell until the day after to see how much of a disrupt this will cause to the routine of America and their communities, but if it’s anything like the march we’re in for another grand success.
It is already reported that schools are shutting down due to lack of teachers coming in for the event. Netflix and NBC are offering personal days for women who want to participate as well. It is making national headlines, and will continue to after we see the effects. These kinds of things are showing that the march in January was not a fluke or driven by pure, momentary anger. And for those reasons, I am totally for an event like this.
That’s not to say that this movement is completely free of criticism; this protest contains many of the same problems that the national marches after the inauguration had. Many of those participating and taking this as an opportunity to earn activism brownie points are white women, which is surprising when their support of Donald Trump reached 53% in the polls.
This walk-out also takes form in a way that some people might not be able to participate, especially those with low-income jobs that they won’t be able to miss for such a reason or participate in unpaid labor. Some women are dependent on as much as of a paycheck as possible each pay period, and others are the sole parents in a household and can’t walk away from parenting responsibilities for a day.
As stated on their website, this event is doing better on including the gender non-conforming and the transgender community in their gender justice, as well as women of color, disabled women, and all other marginalized groups within the idea of women.
But I, for one, fear that this won’t translate to those participating.
Like with the march, some cisgendered, white, middle class women pulled focus on very important issues and dropped the ball when it came to expanding the world outside of their own experience. The last thing I want is for that to happen to this event, but these are habits that have been present since the earliest days of feminist protests. I can only have so much hope when it comes to breaking them now.
While I personally can’t miss classes or work on this day, I hope that this day does go well. I hope I’m proved wrong, and I hope all the outlets that framed this as a day of laziness and childish frustration get to eat their words. And if there are imperfections, I hope they are recognized early on and can be accepted by those that commit them. I can have all the hopes in the world, but until we see how March 8th plays out — I’ll be with the rest of the world as we hold our breaths and hope that this can make even bigger headlines.
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