Are we "so over" International Women’s Day?

photos from IWD 2006In today’s Guardian, Zoe Williams makes a convincing argument that International Women’s Day has been hijacked and diluted until all use has been wrung out of it.

Tomorrow in Westminster, Hilary Benn chairs a panel of global experts addressing Women’s Rights in the Age of Insecurity and two charity heavyweights – Mary Wandia of ActionAid and Grace Mukasa of VSO – discuss the HIV crisis. Meanwhile, in a talk entitled Animals in Art, “successful female artist Sally Matthews” discusses the role of animals in art. Hazel Blears sent out a release reminding us that David Cameron pretends to be pro-women, yet his last 13 candidate selections have been male. And the Ayr Bonnie Lassies promise a “fun-filled day of dancing from around the world, yoga, storytelling and IT”. I want to take the piss, but I don’t know where to start.

Well, quite. But, that said, it does give everyone a good excuse to talk more about feminist issues. Which can’t be a bad thing.

It could not matter less if yoga is good for you, or women have a connection with the moon, or there’s some very interesting storytelling going on in Ayr. What matters enormously is the impact on the enterprise as a whole when it expands to cover animals in art. It’s this kind of hijacking of meaningful collective action that did for the women’s movement in the first place, that made today’s young women think you could believe in equal pay as a regular person, but as soon as you called yourself a feminist you had to stop shaving your legs and start eating pulses. Tell stories and dance as much as you will – but not on International Women’s Day. Make your own day of celebrations. Call it Gullible Idiots Unite. Have it in April.

Does it have that effect? I’m not sure, but I hope not. At least, internationally, you’d hope it does some good.

Photo by wiccked, shared under a Creative Commons license