Today is International Women’s Day, and modern feminists have also designated today the “day without a woman” to protest faux wage gaps and abandon their paying jobs to instead stay at home, not go shopping, and wear red clothing.
All the irony of irresponsible behavior aside, the women who choose to protest their womanhood today and force the world to function without them are missing out on the unique role they already play. They’re acting ashamed to be women because someone somewhere said they were supposed to protest today. But “the woman who accepts the limitations of womanhood finds in those very limitations her gifts…,” as the late Elisabeth Elliot said in a book aptly titled Let Me Be a Woman, and as a young woman today I’ll echo her sentiment: Let me be a woman and don’t tell me I should be ashamed of womanhood.
Let me be a woman who is disciplined and ambitious, who believes in the compatibility of femininity and success and refuses to allow a “glass ceiling” to hold me back. Why complain about a glass ceiling when I could simply continue to work hard and achieve my dreams, as so many before me have? Sure, I’d like to skip work and school for a day and strut down the street in my red blazer and talk about how empowered I feel, but I’d be forsaking the responsibility I accepted when I took my job and when I enrolled in school– both of which empower me far more than would taking the day off in protest of shopping. As Elliot also said, “Freedom begins way back. It begins not with doing what you want but with doing what you ought– that is, with discipline.”
Let me be a woman who refuses to compare my femininity to masculinity. I have no need to compare the incomparable; I have no desire to be a man or to forsake what is innately womanly to somehow prove my worth as a woman. Today’s political statement will likely fall on deaf ears and attempts to prove a worth that already exists. Women can be just as tough and strong as men are– we hunt, shoot, fish, fly, and do pretty much every other activity men do, and we can do it in heels (sorry, I had to). But let me be a woman who performs those actions while proud of my womanhood. Some of the strongest people I know are women, and that unique strength is nothing of which to be ashamed or to protest.
Let me be a woman who looks forward to someday being a wife and mother who puts her family first without accusing me of “hating my own kind” for wanting to marry a man or of “limiting myself” because I want to be a mother. I refuse to view families as an inconvenience, and women are empowered by the opportunity to participate in the cornerstone of our society. The hands that rock the cradle truly run the world, and I choose to be a woman who sees the value in that role.
The “Day Without a Woman” is propping up irresponsibility under the guise of empowerment. Their calls for solidarity mean little when their absences will only make today more difficult for other working women whose children’s school was canceled in protest, or whose routine is slowed by lack of employees at their frequented stores.
Rather than spend today in protest, let me today be a woman who embraces femininity and refuses to shake my fist at God for making me a woman. I’ll instead use that fist to praise Him, to break glass ceilings, to defend my loved ones, and to paint my nails like the wannabe girly-girl I am.
There’s pride in being a woman, and that pride is being shown around the country today by the women who continue to work and make the world go ‘round.