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12 Ways To Wish Women On International Women’s Day

Waking up to a flooded WhatsApp inbox made me do this.

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1. You don’t actually NEED to. Let’s start with that.

Via advertisingmn.com

Your actions and articulations throughout the year will communicate more about you than your tiny wishes on this UN identified day. So, if you are a committed sexist dude, a WhatsApp forward about Women’s Day, however multi-coloured and deep, cannot magically transform you into a lovely male feminist unicorn.

2. Don't stress us out.

Try not to kill the fun by listing all the areas of life we are supposed to be excellent at. By saying we can swim the English Channel or cook for forty people in an hour or climb Kilimanjaro or do all of it in a single lifetime if we set our mind to it, you're stressing us out.

We are allowed to be mediocre, dull and full of human flaws and still celebrate our existence, no?

3. And don’t normalise our already existing stress.

Glorifying our tolerance and patience only proves that you put us through shit in the first place. And then you expect us to reply with blush emojis? So if we don't, please avoid mansplaining the importance of the day to us.

4. Stop choosing which women to celebrate, and which to skip.

If you wish your cis-hetero, savarna/white, able-bodied, caregiving mother and girlfriend, but ignore the women who aren't women enough for you because of their caste, size, disability, “chastity” and non-conforming appearance/behaviour, you are largely bullshitting about your respect for women and their rights.

5. Remember December 25.

@fantastikbazar / Via instagram.com

Wish us on December 25 instead/as well. It is Womens’ Liberation Day – the day Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar burnt the Manusmriti, a document of unimaginable, volcanic hatred towards women, Shudras and Ati-shudras.

6. Husbands, stop thanking us for our "sacrifices".

Today is the worst possible day to appreciate our abilities to multitask, especially by posting Durga-like graphics on our Facebook timelines. We know we manage multiple things at once, but that’s because you won't share the load, jackass!

Avoid saying “you are my one and only ardhangini”, “if it were not for your sacrifices…”, “every successful man has a woman behind him”. Replace with “I am an entitled douche, 93.9% of the times. Sorry”.

7. Celebrate us, not our uterus.

Via ehookcrook.com

To sons and daughters, just wanted to remind you that your mum’s womanhood stretches beyond her motherhood. It is women’s day, not a day to celebrate the medical and spiritual wonders of a uterus. Also, maybe try to avoid thanking a male god for creating women who can then create other human beings.

8. Remember to celebrate real human beings.

amanda_rebeaud / Via instagram.com

After you've wished Bharat Mata, Gau Mata, and all the other symbols of pure womanhood and virtue, maybe find some time to wish actual human beings who identify as women. If you're in a good mood, you could even share a Malala quote before returning to a day of trolling and rape threats online. Sounds simple enough?

9. Swap roses and balloons for equal pay and menstrual leave.

Do NOT give me chocolates and roses and balloons and flower bouquets with thermocol balls floating in it at work. Do NOT shove your narrow ideas of femininity into my face.

Instead, how about announcing menstrual leave? That would be pretty cool. We can buy our own chocolates, more so if you paid us equally.

10. Men, don't make this about yourself.

IWD commemorates the “struggle” for women’s rights. Guess who didn’t have to struggle so much on the account of gender? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

At work, instead of giving us a holiday, are you seriously scheduling an after-work parlour session for your female employees followed by a Taekwondo workshop for self-defense, concluded by a drinks party for all? Do you know what this move says? It says: “This International Women’s Day, groom yourself so that "nice men" can admire you and prepare yourself so that "bad men" can’t rape you.”

It is remarkable how you manage to make it about men EVERY single time.

11. Women's organisations, celebrate with some diversity.

@playmobil / Via instagram.com

Y’all are great, undoubtedly. You're the only people working all year round for women’s rights. But it would be nice if the diversity in your staff and leadership was as rich as those in the social media posts you will be uploading today.

12. Spend the day learning from women.

20th Century Fox

Read some feminist literature – bell hooks, Adrienne Rich, Therigatha. Or listen to Beyonce. Watch Serena play. Understand what Laverne Cox has to say about toilets for trans people, or what Dalia Mogahed has to say on hijaab and sexuality. Listen to Essar Batool talk about the Kashmiri independence struggle and Kashmiri women. Think of Radhika Vemula. Root for the dynamite strength of Mayawati Behenji. Let your heart bounce with Dipa Karmakar’s gymnastics. Watch Hidden Figures. Imagine Savitribai Phule on her way to the first school for girls, founded with Jotiba. Think of the women who broke oppressive structures instead of strengthening them.

Alone or with someone, these are all good ways to spend this day, or for that matter, any other.

Contact Rajashree Gandhi at rega.jha+RajashreeGandhi@buzzfeed.com.

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