The web is abuzz with preparations for the upcoming Women’s Day on 8th March. (And Love in India is no exception. If you haven’t ‘Like’d my entry to the Indusladies Women’s Day Blog Contest 2013, please consider doing it now. Thank you. ;))
Women’s Day is not like any other Day. The idea of Women’s Day took shape in the beginning of the 20th century from events around the burgeoning labour movement of that period. The first ever National Women’s Day was celebrated on Feb. 28, 1909 in the US by The Socialist Party of America in honour of the Feb. 28, 1908 labour strike and protests organized in New York by garment workers in which women played a pivotal role.
Consequently, Women’s Day has come to stand for political and economic freedom for women. It’s a symbol of women’s identity, equality and empowerment. Women’s Day therefore, is not a day for your regular chocolates and roses. I believe the gifts you give to your special woman on this special day ought to reflect your belief in the strength and power in her womanhood.
Here are a few ideas I had.
#1. Women’s books
Feminist literature is always a great choice when it comes to Women’s Day gifting. One of the first books which come to mind in this category would be The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, a compelling treatise on how the modern times have come with increasing pressure on women to conform to a rather limiting and rigid standard of physical beauty even as women’s political, legal and economic freedom has increased more than ever before. If your woman has a taste for a tad weightier philosophical non-fiction you can try The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer – another smashing best-seller from the 1970s – a passionate exploration of women’s sexuality and its possible repression by our current consumerist society.
Or you can go for something of a more general interest like the celebrated fictionized monograph on space for women as writers A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.
Something we all love. Why not celebrate this Women’s Day by gifting (and watching) DVDs of movies which talk about endless struggles through history of perfectly ordinary women who emerged extraordinarily strong and capable as they fought for themselves and what they believed in, at the cost of everything – sometimes their own life. If you’re looking for ideas, the wildly popular fictionized real story of a single mother and fierce environmental activist Erin Brokovitch is a good place to start.
My personal favourite however is North Country – another reality-based account of the long battle (and a landmark victory) of one of America’s earliest female miners against her employer on charges of tolerating a range of sexual abuses meted out to women workers by their male colleagues.
A relatively recent release in this genre is Made in Dagenham. a 2010 movie on the valiant protests of women workers of 1968 in the Ford Dagenham car plant against gender discrimination at the workplace.
If she’s a fan of vintage movies, Silkwood is the pick for you. It’s Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Karen Silkwood, the brave metallurgy worker at a plutonium plant who dared to protest against the blatant violation of worker safety measures there and was deliberately contaminated, psychologically tortured and maybe even murdered as a result of it.
#3. Something special
Throughout history, sexuality has been used as an instrument of keeping women repressed prisoners of their own bodies – with tools as varied as sexual molestation inflicted by a stranger to forced pregnancies imposed by her own family. As a result, legalization of birth control and abortion marked a turn in the history of women’s liberation in this world – by putting women in control of their own bodies. The relatively newly invented women’s condom takes this control one step further, which can be a radical and very thoughtful symbolic gift for your special woman on Women’s Day. If you think you’re up to it, these Women’s Day special female condom deals on CupoNation, which I were invited to check out, can come in very handy. The apt slogan – “celebrate womanhood by taking care of yourself” – perfectly sums up my view on this.
We feel proud to be the fortunate emancipated daughters of centuries of battle for liberation of the fairer sex. Women today have more legal, political and economic freedom than ever before.
But which women?
Only the women you and I know. The women at the bottom of the pyramid continue to remain the worst victims of the patriarchal social values and consequent loss of freedom, especially in our traditionally inclined culture. On this Women’s Day, show your solidarity to the women’s cause by supporting these women. Gift your special woman a work of handicraft/ethnic clothing/decorative items/homemade snacks produced by rural women’s cooperatives and self-help groups. You can start from any of the Indian state emporia. Or you can try out the produce of non-profit organizations trying to help downtrodden women in a productive way like Village Women Craft or Sadhana.
#5. Something original
Finally, the creative stuff.
You want to show her you value her as an individual? Write her a letter telling her what makes her special, not only as a woman, but as a human being.
If you’re a traditional household (in case you’re married) take up some of her usual responsibilities – by cooking a surprise dinner for her for example.
Tell her to take a day off from the daily grind and do exactly what she likes Commit to managing the rest on your own. Go crazy (if you aren’t already).
Do you have any other ideas for celebrating this women’s day with your special woman? What are your thoughts? Let me know by leaving a comment.