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Observations regarding International Women’s Day

Observations regarding International Women’s Day

On this International Women’s Day, I feel torn. I am thrilled to be able to share the ideas and efforts of trailblazing women from all over the ages, but I am also deeply saddened by the fact that we still require a “day” to acknowledge the existence of women, the importance of our creative expression, the legitimacy of our intellectual pursuits, and the value of the unpaid emotional labor we frequently perform for our communities.
In addition, I am the new Culture Editor for Freedom. Working for the oldest anarchist journal in Britain is a privilege, but it also comes with responsibilities. I’m not here to compose meaningless prose. The Romantic in me wants to feed our anarchic souls with truth and beauty, therefore I try to focus on the actions of those in positions of power while also envisioning ways to undermine their authority through the curation of deliberate, cultural responses.
Even though I lead an arguably privileged existence, it is unbelievably tough to speak truth to power when it comes to the patriarchy. I’ve previously been quite uncomfortable publishing even a single tiny fact because I was afraid I would be called a troublemaker, a man-hater, or a challenging woman to deal with. All of which makes me appreciate the women throughout history who have had to battle like lions to bring about even the smallest amount of political or cultural change.
Emma Goldman once said, “The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, like the right of a woman to her soul or the right of a black man to his body.”

I asked someone today why they don’t write poetry, and they said, “Poetry doesn’t kill fascists.” This person naturally uses poetic imagery in their conversations.

But poetry fills in the gaps in our frayed imaginations, compels introspection, and fosters a profound empathy for all living things, I said to myself again. Why isn’t this drastic measure the most elegant means of putting an end to fascism? Later on, I realized that I should have remembered to quote the renowned Audre Lorde from the first few lines of her poem, Power:
Being prepared to end your own life is what separates rhetoric from poetry.

rather than your kids.
Poetry challenges us to dig deeply into our minds, kill our egos, and come out of the attack bruised and naked. This also eliminates fascist ideology because, in my opinion, the two are incompatible. This was recognized by black feminist, poet, lesbian, and activist Audre Lorde, who also saw the horrors that speech can unleash. Nevertheless, she was able to condense the entire idea into four brilliant lines.

Nevertheless, the fact that Ezra Pound was both a brilliant poet and a fascist indicates that there is no one right way to deal with people who are complete idiots.
Is fascism currently the greatest threat to women? I’m not certain. Maybe I would say that our largest opponent is the sheer number of men and women who have internalized that very toxic combination of capitalism and patriarchy. Particularly when it shows up as rivalry or gossip about women instead of empathy and support.
If that’s our weakness, then what makes us strong is the vast majority of women—as well as people of all genders—who are recognizing the toxicity of these aspects of our culture and actively making the effort to support one another whenever and wherever they can. The Speech Professor has a fantastic and amusing example on Instagram that highlights the absurd expectations some males have of women.

Poetry, language, cinema, music, and art remain exquisite means of spreading concepts that subsequently rage throughout our shared mental landscapes, much like La Niña.
Consider the following passage from America Ferrara’s viral Barbie speech:

Being a woman is literally impossible. That you don’t think you’re good enough kills me because you are so brilliant and gorgeous. We need to be exceptional all the time, yet we seem to be doing it incorrectly.

How many of you raised your hands to cry during this speech? Yes, I did.

The rockface of our history is made up of so many inventive and talented women. I wonder how many of them we unintentionally climb over or use as a means of support without really appreciating their contribution to the current state of the arts?
I’m reading Sarah Schulman’s excellent book, The Gentrification of The Mind, which is about AIDS, gay culture, downtown arts movements, and creative people from history who are being erased by the gentrification of location and collective memory. It made me consider the countless women who, in the course of their lives, create vibrant and inspiring lives but who are either forgotten or marginalized by a gentrification process that ignores unique women even as it absorbs their unique brilliance. But the diminishment process operates in this manner. Schulman writes.
Freedom Bookshop has given me three recommendations. The first is for a book called Anarchafeminist by Chiara Bottici, which is currently on my To Be Read list. I’m immediately drawn in by the author’s intersectional and anti-speciesism viewpoint after reading the blurb. Below that is an eclectic (though not exhaustive) list of works by women that have resonated with me over the years. Both lists are located at the bottom of this post and are suggested books from the bookshop that you should be able to pick up in-store.

To wrap up, I’ll read a poem by renowned anarchist poet Voltairine de Cleyre, which she wrote in honor of the first feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft:

International Women’s Day


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