Today is a day for us. All the girls, ladies and beings who identify as women. It's important that we take a moment from the calendar to stand together and celebrate who we are. Because the world needs to know how much we matter—perhaps now more than ever.
I didn't realize I was supposed to wear red in solidarity. It doesn't matter. I wear my red hair with pride every day. I don't have to cover it up or conceal it. But I respect another woman's choice to do so, as long as it's what SHE wants.
At the end of the day, we all just want to enjoy the basic human freedoms as men, no matter where we live. We want to be able to dream big. We want to create. Sometimes that involves children; sometimes it's art and songs and poems and things that have nothing to do with the pitter patter of little feet.
We want to be able to express ourselves and speak up for what's right without fear of retribution or isolation. We want the future to be more female-focused, instead of just adhering to the patriarchy pattern that's gone on for too many generations.
For me, on a personal level, I want my daughter to feel more safe and secure when she inherits the world. I want her to encounter boys and men who respect her as a person. I want her to hear less of the common stereotypical refrains about women.
I want to help give her the confidence and guts to deal with the random sexist insults that will come her way no matter how far we progress in the next twenty years. The remarks about her looks, her clothes, her mood, her smarts.
We don't even realize how ingrained this anti-women bullshit is in our society until we really take a step back and look at it. She will be fine whether she loves men or women or likes to be on her own. She doesn't need a man or a diet or a pill just because she's got estrogen instead of testosterone.
She can wear truck pajamas and play with cars as long as she wants. It doesn't make her any less feminine. It also doesn't mean that she can't enjoy My Little Pony and princess dresses at the same time.
She is three years old and she can kick a soccer ball like nobody's business. So yes, she kicks like a girl. She's also beautifully sensitive and emotional—like a girl. As a woman and her mother, I would never want to take these wonderful qualities away from her. They don't make her less. They make her who she is.
The world needs more kindness, more nurturing, more caring. That's where we come in.
All throughout my pregnancy, I was convinced I was having a boy. He never materialized, but I now know what I would have tried to teach him had he arrived.
I would have told him to focus on a woman's eyes instead of her pant size. I would have let him know how disrespectful catcalls are. I would have made sure he knew the bad words were "bitch" and "slut," not "feminism" and "hormonal."
I would have made sure he knew exactly what he DIDN'T have to go through in society, simply because he had the XY chromosome combination.
I can't mother the sons I don't have, but I can strive to be a good example to my daughter as she grows into womanhood. I won't call her catty or tell her to smile or judge her on her weight. But that means I need to hold myself to the same standards and show her I love myself.
So the next time someone asks me when I'm having a second child, I'll politely tell them it's none of their business. I don't have to "calm down" or "relax" when I'm in the middle of debating something; I just need to stand my ground.
I can wear comfortable, shapeless clothes or something sexy that shows off my curves. My outfits aren't made for men's consumption. If I feel like wearing lipstick, I'll do it. It doesn't matter if I'm only going to pick my kid up from daycare.
I can also take a selfie of myself and post it. It doesn't mean I'm "asking for it."
If I have my period, I don't have to hide it. I can talk about it. There's no shame in the natural processes of the female body. We need to get over our reluctance to discuss what affects us. We do make up half of society.
So please join me, today and every day, in persisting and resisting and remembering what it really means to be a woman. WE define who we are and how we want to be treated. We are strong. We BELONG.
The time for silence has passed. So world, hear us roar. Because we're sure as hell not going anywhere.