For many of you who actually read this blog, yesterday was a day just like any other; however, in other countries around the world, Argentina and Chile included, it was día de la mujer, or International Women’s Day. I would have forgotten had it not been for the handful of text messages I got from some of our Argentine and Chilean friends wishing me a “feliz día!” At first thought, I saw it as a nice way to start my day and briefly wondered why the U.S. doesn’t celebrate a holiday that’s considered “international”. Then, I got online.
Thanks to the trips that we’ve been fortunate enough to go on, my Facebook and Twitter feeds are pretty mixed, as far as nationalities go. As expected, there were a bunch of Facebook statuses and tweets acknowledging the international holiday but not entirely in the way that I had anticipated. Just as U.S. citizens both criticize and praise the celebration of Valentine’s Day (usually depending on their current relationship status), I suddenly saw a debate forming over the legitimacy and actual purpose of Women’s Day. Based solely on what I observed through Facebook comments and various tweets, I’ll try to outline the two arguments.
Women’s Day Should Be Celebrated
As I said, a few friends of mine had gone out of their way to say hello and wish me a happy Women’s Day. I saw it as a nice gesture and a good excuse to catch up with them, if only briefly. Since Women’s Day isn’t actively celebrated in the U.S., I asked what each of them was doing to commemorate the day. The general idea was that they bought a flower or a small gift for the important women in their lives to show their gratitude. Sounds kind of like an expanded mother’s day, doesn’t it?
Congruent to the thoughts on the International Women’s Day website, others believed the day carries historical significance that formally recognizes the struggles that women have gone through to gain equal rights. President Obama even tweeted about it!
This side was of the opinion that women are not only powerful and intelligent enough to accomplish just as much as men, but should also be commended for the sacrifices and work that they put in to being good mothers, wives, sisters, etc.
Women’s Day Does Not Need to Be Celebrated
What first brought my attention to this opinion was a tweet that I saw from an Argentine blogger that I follow on Twitter, @PeroTengoRazon.
Others on Facebook expressed similar thoughts and claimed that the day wasn’t worth the flower or pat on the back that women get in comparison to all of the accomplishments and discoveries that they’ve contributed to the world. I even saw the phrase “positive discrimination” thrown around; instead of telling women they’re not good enough to vote or hold executive positions in large companies, as was done in the past, they’re given one day in the entire year to feel appreciated. These people believed that women should be commended for all that they do every day, just as men are, without the unnecessary creation of a holiday.
What do you think about International Women’s Day? Did you do anything to celebrate it? Why do you think it isn’t actively marketed/celebrated in the U.S.?