The year is 2022. We’ve rolled around to another International Women’s Day. While most corporations and companies will put out words of gratitude and celebration, I feel like this year it’s going to miss the mark. Because women this year don’t want to be celebrated. We want to be ok. And we’re not ok.
While I always try to be as gender-inclusive with my content, please bear with me on this one. I am addressing specifically what I am seeing around International Women’s Day and content by female-identifying creators, and as such will use very gendered language. I am also focusing on Western views, as that is my own lived experience and I will not put words in the mouths of other women.
The past couple of weeks I’ve spent more than a reasonable amount of time consuming social media and podcasts.
I’ve been doing this as a dissociation tactic, trying to distract myself from the consuming feelings I’ve been having. Feelings of hopelessness, depression, anger, sadness, worry. Feelings directed at the pandemic, at Russia, at the floods here in Brisbane and New South Wales.
But it’s not working as a dissociation tactic. Want to know why? Because every. single. female. creator I’m seeing on my feeds, and listening to in my podcasts, are echoing these sentiments.
Every day I see fresh posts from women saying they don’t even know what to post about. They don’t have the spoons to articulate what’s going on in their world. They are reading the room and knowing now is not the time for a chirpy little ‘Top 10 Tips’ article, but they can’t write about everything else. It’s just too much right now.
But we put out that content anyway. Because that’s what’s expected of us. People don’t want to hear how we are fatigued, exhausted, angry, sad, scared, confused, burnt out. They want to see us doing our jobs (corporate, parenting, whatever). They want to see us smile. And yes, that is a nod to Grace Tame – if you haven’t heard that name, go searching (you won’t have to search far) and bask in the polarizing moment of a woman who refused to smile politely when it was expected of her.
I know part of it is the desperate need for normality right now. Everything is going mental, and we are yearning for things to back to ‘how they were’. We want to fill our heads with sweet nothings, we want to learn new things, we want to see each other succeed, we want to be able to go out for lunch. But we can’t. Because of *gestures at everything*.
And across the board, I am seeing one distinct, powerful mood. A new vibe, if you will.
Women are done with this shit.
And we don’t always even know what shit we’re specifically referring to this time.
How is it 2022, and we are still seeing the things we are seeing. We’re seeing war. We’re seeing the rolling back of basic human rights, of women’s rights, of LGBTQIA+ rights, of the right of people of colour (especially women of colour). We’re seeing natural disaster after natural disaster (especially if you include a virus as a natural disaster). We’re seeing women STILL being overlooked, downtrodden, ignored, and told to smile in the workplace. We’re still seeing the glass ceiling. We’re still seeing it all. And we’re getting mighty fatigued by it all.
I honestly think if another big thing happens, a lot of people are going to break. We’re going to see people shatter into a million tiny pieces, and become empty. I don’t think we’ll see explosions of emotion, but rather an emptying of emotions, as a protective shield against yet more shit. We’re going to become the good little corporate workers, doing the bare minimum to survive. We’re going to nod and agree, because we can’t take more conflict, we can’t take more upheaval. We can’t take more.
Or we’ll see more smoldering lava like Grace Tame, slowly but surely rising up to engulf. To make sure they are seen. Heard. Noticed. We’re going to see more ‘angry women’, who are, in fact, actually genuinely angry.
On a slight tangent, I am excited to see what the next generation of women will do. I was having a talk with a friend about our young daughters, and how they seem to be extra determined, headstrong, and sure of themselves. Note the vocabulary I use here. I didn’t say stubborn, or bossy. If you’re in the habit of using such words for the young girls in your life, make a pledge to break the bias and swap them out for words of empowerment instead of words of belittling.
My friend said that she had a similar conversation with another friend, who had come to the conclusion that these girls have been put here on Earth to *do* something.
I couldn’t agree more.
In much of the Westernised world, this is the first generation of women who will grow up with a different paradigm.
They will grow up without being put down, trodden on, quietened, kept in their place, minimised, scorned, placed second behind the menfolk from birth. This generation are being raised empowered, supported, *seen*.
No more being told to sit quietly, look pretty, and smile.
We are finally going to see the true capability of women. Powerful women.
And this comes from the current generations of women (and yes, men too!) who have paved the way. They have seen the traditional Western view of women and said “No”. (Because No is a complete sentence, you don’t have to have the ‘sorry’ afterwards that I almost wrote – still working on that dynamic myself!)
So this International Women’s Day I’m referring you to some truly brilliant articulations of what the womenfolk are feeling right now.
I want to draw your attention to these women and the work they are doing. Personal recommendations from me to you.
Follow these women. Bookmark and actually read these articles. Queue these podcast episodes. (And for the record none of this is sponsored or affiliated)
This article by Jenny Lachs, Founder of Digital Nomad Girls. Seriously, read this one. I’m not going to provide any excerpts, because I’m tired and burnt out. But more importantly because I don’t want to lessen the impact of Jenny’s original words., which hit home and hit home hard.
This article by Rachael Kay Albers. Same deal here.
This article by the Edith Cowen University, about gender equality in educational leadership roles.
The official International Women’s Day website, in particular this page about this year’s theme which is Break the Bias.
This podcast episode by Truth for Teachers. “What if we stop moving goal posts and enjoy where we’re at? The constant pressure to achieve more, work harder, increase results, generate more money, and so on can be exhausting.” It takes a critical look at the education system, impact on our students, and also at us as teachers and human beings.
Brilliant Personal Recommendations
Inemesit Graham’s Instagram account – racial impacts of health, fitness, and beauty standards (get ready to have your white privilege laid bare in the best possible way for learning). Also critical information for physical health after giving birth, and having diastasis rectii.
Balance365 website, Instagram, Facebook page and group – absolutely smashing diet culture to pieces and working with you to build a health, sustainable lifestyle that suits your individual goals (whether they include weight loss or not) through habits.
Big Little Feelings Instagram account, which is technically for parenting with toddlers. However, I’m finding most of the content also applicable for my own high school students, and interacting with young people in general.
The Mom Psychologist on Instagram – again aimed at parenting, but critically important information for everyone who works with young people.
If You Need a Lighthearted Distraction
Check out Shameless Media – in Podcast form, Instagram (company and podcast separately), and their website. They have been a shining light in this time, a truly good distraction during housework or my drive home. Their tagline is ‘For smart people who like dumb stuff’, and that’s me to a T! I particularly like their Scandal series on the podcast.
Vagina Devil Magic on Facebook, which is a fantastically polarizing name for an awesome page. I particularly love their Biographies of Badass Bitches which is run every now and then.
SciBabe is an old favourite of mine on Facebook.
Lab Muffin Beauty Science on Instagram and Facebook, where Michelle breaks down the science behind popular beauty products and trends. Fun fact – she’s a chemistry PhD and an educator too!
Go Watch Miranda and Kendra dance on Instagram (I don’t have TikTok).
A fun interview with a personal friend who works in Nuclear Medicine (could be a great piece to show your students who are perhaps interested in science careers too!).
How are you feeling right now?