International Women’s Day
Woman. Adult human female. Not cervix-haver. Not menstruator. Not a person with both ovaries and a cervix. Woman.
Today should be a celebration of women. Not cis women. Women. Only a few months ago the Scottish government came perilously close to erasing us as our own class in favour of males who identify as women. They aren’t. They can’t just gate-crash the party.
We are not a feeling. And men know this and always have. They knew who women were when they excluded us from the university and from the golf club. Men knew who pioneering women were when they appropriated the women’s work as their own. They know who to go to for surrogate children.
And they know who we are when women are attacked, brutalised and killed. They don’t attack because their victims feel they are women, but because they ARE women.
This year has seen no improvement in the statistics of women killed by partners or ex-partners, the sad litany of names we can’t remember because there are so many. Two or three A WEEK.
In Scotland we still have no protection as women in our daily lives. Humza Yousaf, who may be our next First Minister, thinks so much of us that he took us off the Hate Crime Bill protection, and there is no law against misogyny. Women are only protected under hate crime if we double-qualify as older women, religious women, atheist women, disabled women.
We are the ones who stand in the way when our children and grandchildren are seen as fair game by those who have messed with their heads by teaching them that womanhood is just a feeling. We still have a lot of work to do. It is particularly galling when the only true feminists are the ones who accept men can be women. They can’t.
It is a time to celebrate in Scotland our near escape from extinction. Celebrate women today. Make a fuss of the women in your life. And tomorrow start to tackle the misogyny which still runs deep in Scottish life, in our workplaces, in the pub. Remember that for many women they can’t speak up. They would end up another statistic. Challenge society’s acceptance that violent pornography is empowering for women, that prostitution is just like working in McDonalds, that such a future would be a career choice for our daughters.
And vote for political parties which respect women or can at least tell you what a woman is. Vote out the parties which tried to turn us into a costume you put on and take off. The tide is turning, but there are still battles to be won.