International Women’s Day, but for men

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, which, in honour of women, has been renamed International Womxn’s Day, as the word women has become too offensive to say. While many around the world celebrated IWD by highlighting the pivotal importance of women in this world (they made all of you, remember?!), those on the right side of history made sure to remind us not to forget that, in fact, men are the most important women.

John Horgan, leader of the BC NDP, tweeted, “At a time when trans people, particularly trans women and girls, are under increased attack around the world, let me add my voice to say clearly: Trans women are women. #IWD.”

I think I speak for all of us when I say, THANK YOU, JOHN. Why celebrate women on International Women’s Day when there are at least 12 men who would like to be celebrated instead.

Canadian leftist writer and activist Robyn Maynard added her two cents, writing, “Happy #IWD including and especially to trans women, sex working women, incarcerated women, Black and Indigenous women, and so many others who are partially or wholly rejected from the category of ‘woman’ when it suits the needs of the status quo.”

This tweet interested me in particular as it references incarcerated women, who indeed are some of the most marginalized and voiceless women in Canada, are now being housed with dangerous men, some of whom are sex offenders, on account of their identification as “trans women.” It takes an especially compassionate and rational mind to feign concern for women in prison while simultaneously promoting the idea that men who claim to be women must be counted as female, and therefore have access to all women’s spaces, including spaces that house some of the most vulnerable women in the country.

Kennedy Stewart, Vancouver’s most forgotten mayor, shared a quote celebrating “women and marginalized genders” and suggesting we “recommit to continuing our work in removing systemic barriers to build a more just society.”

I was grateful for Mayor Stewart’s reminder, as it reminded me of the time the mayor I voted for said it was “despicable” for women like me to discuss their sex-based rights in public spaces in Vancouver. I for one think barriers should be removed to building a more just society, but only so long as women agree to shut up about their views on just societies for women.

Across the pond, the Vagina Museum celebrated International Women’s Day by tweeting about people who do not have vaginas. The account turned off replies lest the vagina’d protest about their erasure from the day dedicated to celebrating the only people on the planet with vaginas.

Labour Equalities Shadow Minster, Annalise Dodds, took time on IWD to go on BBC Women’s Hour, but (oops!) forgot her notes, and failed to recall what a woman is. Our sovereign queen, JK Rowling, helpfully suggested Dodds might make use of a dictionary and backbone, then pointed out the hypocrisy of claiming “Labour will lift women up” when Labour representatives apparently can’t figure out what a woman is.

Many women cheered in response to Rowling’s pointed sarcasm, though others felt it an opportune time to tell her to “shut up.” Broadcaster, India Willoughby argued that men have been “100% erased from #IWD,” yet Rowling had the gall to complain they were getting too much attention. We are meant to live in an equal society, after all, and this should definitely apply to tweets on International Women’s Day.

I can’t help but agree that on International Women’s Day, of all days, women really should shut up about this whole matter of the word “woman,” and women in general. Particularly those with vaginas, and particularly when several men who would like to be women are feeling left out. I mean, women have had many centuries of being women — isn’t that enough? Let the men have a turn.

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.