What Makes Girls Sick and Tired? Not International Women’s Day!
This International Women’s Day, we are proud to take inspiration from a book we published this week: What Makes Girls Sick and Tired, by Lucile de Pesloüan and Geneviève Darling.
Intended as a feminist manifesto for young women, each page has an illustrated message about the everyday sexism, discrimination, and outright danger that women face around the world. Each topic presented in the book is a jumping-off point for deeper discussion and thought, and so here we are going to take some of those topics to explore in honour of IWD:
“Girls are sick and tired when men who cook and do the shopping are praised for being modern, while for women it’s just considered normal.” – page 24
The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter: a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. There will be celebrations around the world for IWD and you can search for events happening in your area on the official IWD website.
The “F” Word
“Girls are sick and tired when the word ‘feminist’ is used as an insult.” – page 43
To call yourself a feminist means that you believe in equality between men and women. People can always refer to the definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: ”the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes” (hey, it was their word of the year in 2017!).
Feminism as a movement is as imperfect as anything carried out by humans—For International Women’s Day 2017 the Toronto Star posted a great video where women talked about how feminism can be at its best.
“Girls are sick and tired of being expected to shave their armpits, and of being judged if they don’t.” – page 15
This January marked the first “Januhairy” — @januhairy — where throughout the month women and girls shared images celebrating their body hair and countering body hair stigma. You grow girls … (sorry!) About Januhairy.
Can We End The Violence?
“Girls are sick and tired of knowing that globally women between the ages of 15 and 44 are more likely to die of rape and violence than cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria combined.*” – page 32
Statements like these can be overwhelming. We can gain strength to fight back against statistics like this by joining together. We can seek out movements like One Billion Rising, which calls itself “the biggest mass action to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence) in human history.”
*Statistic from the United Nations UNiTE Campaign 2015
Please Don’t Tell Me to Smile
“Girls are sick and tired of being accosted, of enduring catcalls, and being asked for their phone numbers just because they are walking down the street.” – page 37
Hot Tip: girls don’t like it when a strange man asks them to “smile for me.”
Women and men are pushing back with organizations like Hollaback!—a global, people-powered movement to end street harassment. Everyone, whatever their identity, should be able to walk down the street without being harassed.
“Girls are sick and tired of knowing that even today women are the victims of honor crimes and are treated as ‘sub-human’.” – page 30
So-called “honor” crimes are acts of criminal violence—often murder—against female family members who have been perceived to bring dishonor to their families, often for refusing an arranged marriage or loving someone not of their family’s choosing. Activists like Khalida Brohi—who’s cousin Khadija was a victim of honor killing—are trying to empower women and to change cultural perceptions of women as inferior/property/without agency. Find out about the Sughar Foundation.