International Women’s Day, commemorated this Wednesday, March 8, 2017, as seen publicly on Facebook and other social media sites, had a message, “Day Without a Woman.” A Youtube video by Mic was posted to list 3 ways to participate in the cause:
- Women (if able) should take the day off of paid and unpaid labor.
- Try to avoid shopping during the strike. If you have to shop, do so at small, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses.
- Wear red in solidarity with those striking.
Instantly, I was taken aback by the second statement, “try to avoid shopping…” because on that day that the strike was held and upon the announcement of cancellation of class, my first thought was, “I can finally have some shopping done!” Yes, all women love shopping! In fact, according to the same video cited earlier, women control 73% of household spending; a fact that is highly considered when companies make ads on household items.
Why does “Day Without a Woman” want to discourage women from consuming? As previously mentioned, women consume products more than men, and are great contributors to the smooth flow of the rising economy. Without women, especially for more than a single day of work and/or consuming, the economy will suffer a great loss most especially the businesses who have already been widely dependent on the role of women and mothers for their overall growth. The main goal of the strike is to make the world aware of how important the roles of women are; in their jobs and in the whole economy.
“Anti-consumerists claim that in a consumerist society, advertisement images disempower and objectify the consumer.” (Joseph D. Rumbo. “Consumer Resistance in a World of Advertising Clutter: The Case of Adbusters” February 2002) With this claim that coincides with the way the President of the United States Donald Trump has behaved in the past few years (and still led to his election as president) by disempowering and objectifying women, the Trump Tower became a perfect venue for a strike like Day Without a Woman to be held. The venue, the forms of protest (listed above), and the people involved who are very diverse, all speak loudly of the message that they wish to convey: for men to treat women with respect. The protest was held in a peaceful manner. There was no violence that took place in the campaign except for the disturbance of peace workers and commuters near the Trump tower experenced in its duration. Although half of the crowd of protestors left after the police tried to clear the streets, they gathered in smaller groups and walked around Manhattan wearing red clothing and holding their protest signs. I was in Manhattan that day, too, and I was wearing red although I didn’t walk around with my own sign.
To be honest, I didn’t think it was effective because I didn’t know about it until the day itself through my professor. If it had been spread more widely, not just to supporters of gender parity, through more forms of social media or in the news, in advance, I could’ve been able to participate in a more involved way. I am not an activist but I could’ve treated this event as a parade, because I’ve often been to the Gay Pride Parade in NYC without being gay and without researching about it but just from hearing it through word of mouth.
The Socialist Party of America organized the first National Women’s Day in New York in 1909, (Lopez & Crockett. “International Women’s Day, explained” vox.com, March 2017) making this year its 108th anniversary.
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