Mummy Monday: Celebrating Women
Over the last few days, here in the UK, we have been celebrating women on a big scale. Well kind of. The country has gone crazy for the annual event that is Mother’s Day with sales of chocolates, flowers and cards no doubt going through the roof as partners show a distinctive lack of imagination as they help their children prepare a last minute gift for the other key person in their lives. At least my Twitter and Facebook timelines would have me believe this to be the case!
Unfortunately, the other event, International Women’s Day probably passed most of us by with very little fanfare. Which seems a terrible shame as this could, and should, have been a wonderful opportunity to combine the two events, which at the end of the day, both celebrate wonderful, incredible women.
I choose not to celebrate Mother’s Day. Perhaps this is a throwback to a time when, as a teenager, I probably didn’t really show my own mum the appreciation she deserved and she rightly got a bit upset at the lack of effort, and I don’t want to put my children through a similar ordeal of being expected to do something on a specific day and me being disappointed if they don’t. However, I choose not to celebrate the card and chocolate manufacturer proscribed “days” full stop. No Valentine’s Day, no Mother’s Day, no Father’s Day (well obviously!) in this house. I do do Christmas as that’s for everyone and is really a month long, and we eat eggs at Easter because we all love chocolate and don’t need an excuse to eat extra (and it satisfies the Pagan in me), but we don’t send cards. And of course, birthdays as they really are special days which I appreciate even more now I’m a mum.
The other days though, they just smack me as too commercial. And they’re growing. My mum informed me yesterday that in France it was also Grandmother’s Day. Seriously! I’m not sure if I was supposed to feel guilty for not knowing this, but I’m not about to start another one! From about mid-January, the supermarkets seem to be awash with pink as they cart out the Valentine’s cards, heart-shaped chocolate boxes and predominantly pink flowers. Then, just as they’re clearing these products away, they replace them with more pink in the shape of Mother’s Day paraphernalia.
So why is it that women all over the country rush to celebrate their status as a mother, but can’t be bothered to celebrate women? Why are we so excited to receive a card made in a factory yet don’t notice that there is still work to be done worldwide to award women some equality? And what is it about the colour pink?!
Perhaps, instead of celebrating ourselves and our ability to parent, we should use the date as a reason to champion a cause that will allow women that don’t have the luxury of a plethora of pink to enjoy on this day, to just maybe be allowed some freedom, some equality, some respect. It is so easy to get swept along in all the excitement of “our day” that we forget that there are many women who aren’t allowed an education, who childbirth in fear, who are raped and maimed by their own communities, who just simply do not have the respect they deserve. Next year, perhaps we could ask our families to forget the chocolates and petrol station flowers and, instead, donate the money to one of the many causes that aims to help these women have a better life. Or even a life in the first place.
Let’s remember those women.