Women's History Month Is Over — Now What?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed watching posts about Women’s History Month dominate my social media platforms for the past month. Between the inspiring Instagram memes and the various stories being shared of women doing really cool sh*t, I’ve learned so much about the phenomenally badass things women have always been up to. I love that there’s an entire month dedicated to women. I’m not terribly bummed out to say goodbye to March, though, because while it's cool that we have one, we don’t need Women’s History Month to celebrate women.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Women’s History Month is important and necessary. The fact is, women all over the world are still economically disadvantaged. Women are disproportionately affected by gun violence, intimate partner abuse, and human trafficking. Women don’t make it into the history books nearly as much as they deserve to, and even women in power are consistently silenced and/or punished when they stand by their convictions. So, yeah, I’m 100 percent on board with having an entire month dedicated to women’s history. I just feel like we should treat every month like it’s Women’s History Month. Fortunately, we can.
Here are just a few ways to celebrate women, and women’s history, all year long.
Shop As Ethically As Possible
It might not seem like that big of a deal, but the way we spend our money truly does matter. The fact is, there's a lot of unethical sh*t going on in The Business World, and it disproportionately affects women and minorities. "The Pink Tax" doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and we'll probably see flying cars before equal pay for women becomes a reality. Oh, and the FDA barely regulates what kind of toxic ingredients go into our tampons.
Since spending money is impossible to avoid, it just makes sense to put our money where our feminist mouths are. Fortunately, whether you're looking to buy a new journal, stock up on menstrual hygiene products, or you just want some decent razors, there's probably an ethical feminist company out there that will fit your needs.
Make Time For The Women & Girls In Your Life
The most direct way to show your love and support for women and girls is to spend time with them. So if you have nieces, young cousins, or daughters, take time to play with them. If it's healthy for you to be around your family, meet your mom, sister, aunt, or cousin for drinks once in awhile. If you think a book club might be something you'd enjoy, join a feminist one. (Or create your own!)
OK, so you definitely shouldn't feel pressured to participate in protests or rallies if you don't want to. Personally, I think protests and rallies are rad, but I understand that marching in large crowds of strangers just isn't healthy (or even possible) for everyone. Further, there are plenty of ways to protest without actually attending a protest.
Having said all of that, if you enjoy participating in protests and rallies, and you're able to do so, there are several marches coming up. You could take part in the Trump's Taxes March on April 15, or you could make Bill Nye proud and join The March for Science on April 29. After that, we have the Immigrants March on May 1 and all of Pride Month to look forward to.
Keep Educating Yourself
"La gente, all'occorrenza, usa il termine 'tradizione' per giustificare qualunque cosa" (Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche) pic.twitter.com/vESyL0B2Pk— Anna Momigliano (@annamomi) March 28, 2017
When Lisa Kleypas said, "A well-read woman is a dangerous creature" she wasn't kidding. Knowledge truly is power (thank you, School House Rock), so to continue empowering ourselves and others, we need to keep learning.
If you don't already have a library card, go get one and then use it as much as you can. If you prefer audiobooks and ebooks over the real thing, check out Overdrive and Hoopla. They're basically libraries for your phone, and they have a ton of titles to choose from. (I'm currently listening to Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, and it's hilarious.) Find a couple of podcasts you really enjoy and subscribe to them. (Personally, I would recommend Welcome to Night Vale and Savvy Psychologist.) Watch all of Cosmos on Netflix. Or do something else. Just don't stop learning new things.
Hang Out With People Who Are Different From You
If your social circle is pretty dang homogeneous, it's time to change that. I know it's not always easy to make new friends as an adult, but it is totally doable. Plus, it's literally good for us to have a diverse group of friends. Research shows that being around people who are different from us makes us smarter, more creative, more diligent, and harder-working. As Scientific American reported back in 2014, "Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups."
Stand Up For Women & Girls Everywhere (Including Yourself)
Unfortunately, there's no shortage of sexist jerks out there. In fact, I don't know a single woman who hasn't been cat-called, trolled, harassed by an ex, or mansplained multiple times. That said, in my experience, it's always a little bit easier to stick up for myself when I know other women have my back. So the next time you see a troll attacking a woman on Twitter, or some creep won't leave your friend alone at the bar, support her. Whether that means sending an encouraging message to a stranger, or it means sticking by your friend's side all night, just make sure you have her back.
Follow Women Who Inspire You
Women's History Month does a pretty great job of celebrating influential women of the past, and that's important. We should absolutely be talking about our foremothers and all the inspiring stuff they did — but women all over the world are doing some pretty amazing things right now, and more people should be talking about it.
So if you want to celebrate Women's History Month all year, gradually fill your various social media feeds with the posts of badass women and badass accounts run by women. For you, that could mean following your favorite authors, feminist celebrities, or even your mom. For me, it means all of that — plus following Loryn Brantz on Instagram, Annalisa Enrile on Twitter, and my outspoken feminist friends on Facebook.
Start Preparing For Pride Month
The U.S. has come a long way regarding LGBTQIA rights. Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, and even my tiny, Missouri town has made some progress regarding trans bathroom rights. That said, there's still so much work to be done.
The sad fact is, inequality is affecting queer people's lives at best, and literally killing us at worst. Studies show that bisexual women are at higher risk of assault and suicide than straight women. Transgender women of color are being murdered at alarming rates. Asexual people face all kinds of stigma, and gays and lesbians have only been legally allowed to adopt in all 50 states for one year. So whether you're a member of the LGBTQIA community or not, now is the time to start planning marches and preparing for Pride Month. Feminism isn't feminism if it isn't intersectional, and we're stronger together.
Take Care Of Yourself
Even at the best of times, self-care is incredibly important. In today's political climate, I daresay it's more important than ever. We can't do productive work if we're not taking care of ourselves, and this current administration is just getting started. So if you haven't done this already, take some time to come up with a self-care routine that you can stick with. (Here are some ideas to get you started.)
And if you've got your self-care routine on lockdown, then check out this article about how you can incorporate even more self-care into your daily life. Because honestly, you really can't overdo it on taking care of yourself.