On March 8, every year, we celebrate Women’s Day. Some do it with pride, others with reluctance. But we celebrate it. It’s the day of the women. 

I, for one, am totally on-board with the idea. I wake up, I wish the amazing women in my life for the strength they give me by just existing. Also, I am reminded that there is so much to be thankful for and similarly, so much to fight for. And that we will.  

What I am not on-board with, is the performative nature of the way the day is celebrated by many. Women’s Day is symbolic. This means that for 24 hours, we talk about women, their achievements, and their struggles in this broken society. 

But that doesn’t mean that once those 24 hours end, you can go back to mistreating the gender or undermining the contributions made by people who identify as women. Sadly, though, this has become a practice. 

Since Women’s Day, there have been multiple instances of harassment, mansplaining, and crackdown which really make me wonder if we should even celebrate on March 8. Because all this makes it look like a sick joke played on us every year. Take it, take it away, but just let us live. 

1. A 33-year-old woman was abducted and killed in London while she was walking on foot from her friend’s place to home.

I often hear about the “improving condition of women” across the globe. “Things are changing”. Maybe, in parts. But they could only be changing so much if incidents like these are still happening. Right?. 

I am going to go out tonight and my best friend knows about it. She knows who I am meeting and where. She knows when I will leave and when I’ll come back. When I sit in the cab, I will give her my car details, when I leave the place, I will repeat the process. 

And she will wait. If I am lucky, I will be back home and my best friend will also sleep in peace. 

But the thought that I may not be lucky is the one that never leaves my head, because Sarah’s friend also waited for a text and she never got one. 

This is what our lives, literally, depend on. Luck. The toss of a coin. The mood of the men on the streets. 

2. As I write this, NCB has already challenged Rhea Chakraborty’s bail in the Supreme Court. She has been accused of procuring drugs for herself and on behalf of Sushant Singh Rajput who died by suicide earlier this year. 

And this is what it has led to. 

I am no legal counsel, so I won’t have a comment on what the courts should do. But I do know a few things. One, she has already been granted bail in the case once. Two, since the matter is sub-judice, she deserves the respect that you’ll afford to someone who has not been declared a criminal. 

Three, she deserves basic respect. In general. No matter what she has done, or whether or not she is guilty. 

Yes, believe it or not, you can’t say whatever comes to your mind, even if a woman is guilty of committing a crime. 

That, I will reiterate, the matter is sub-judice, makes this even more problematic. 

3. The fact that it’s 2021, and trans women are still struggling for basic rights and fair treatment in the society.

If you respect me as a woman because I was “born as one”, you don’t actually respect me, nor women. You respect the vagina. And sorry to break it to you, but vaginas don’t make women and genitals don’t need your approval.

Hence, we need to move past the narrative of associating womanhood with biology. Because it makes life so much tougher for the members of the trans community. Some of them have had surgeries, some don’t have enough money for that. They are simply living in the body of a man, but they identify as women and who the f*ck is anyone to question them?

If someone says they are a woman, it’s not your place to make comments on it. But tell this to the entitlement that thinks of itself as all-powerful force that everyone must serve. 

4. Recently, a Jaipur police officer was reported to have asked for sexual favours from a woman who had previously been assaulted. 

This is dizzying. It’s disturbing. It’s frightening. In one week since Women’s Day, I have read at least 10 stories of sexual assault (which is a sad quantification and I am sorry for the same). 

Now, this is what I have read. Imagine the number of cases that were reported. Imagine how many we don’t have any clue about. 

If we can’t save women from the hands of men, it makes one day’s revelry seem so wrong; almost unfortunate.

5. And then, there was CJI Sharad A Bobde, who asked a rape accused if he will marry the woman he violated.

This happened during a hearing on March 1. Expectedly, he received severe backlash for the statement. So, on March 8, he went on to give this clarification:

We did not ask him to marry. We asked, “Are you going to marry?” We did not say “marry”.

If this is the explanation the CJI has to offer, one can only hang their head in shame. In his head, if you don’t order a rapist to marry the girl, but ask him if he will do it – that’s completely acceptable.

To be clear, this was his exact quote from the hearing:

If you want to marry, we can help you. If not, you lose your job and go to jail. You seduced the girl, raped her. We are not forcing you. Later you may say court forced you.

6. In another gross breach of a woman’s dignity, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ruled that a Muslim woman has to convert to Hinduism for her marriage to a Hindu man to be considered “valid”.

A judgment like this is sexist, which goes without saying, but it’s also inappropriate and unfair. The judges will decide who a woman should pray to? I sure as hell think not. 

7. Meghan Markle’s sustained public profiling which has only gotten worse since she decided to speak up about the racist and misogynist forces in the royal family. 

However, it can’t be easy, right? This is what the British tabloids have been up to since Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, gave that interview to Oprah. No points for guessing, there’s tons of disrespect and dismissal of her achievements. 

People also have played their part in this and just can’t seem to get over the fact that someone could actually have problems with the royal family. 

I don’t know where this perception comes from since the British have played an active part in the death of millions, slavery, and other social injustices. Everyone knows about it, everyone is aware.

8. The fact that a woman went missing in plain sight and was killed later is not bad enough, we even have police silencing the peaceful protests of women in the UK right now. 

9. Add to this, the fact that the family of Breonna Taylor is still waiting for justice. 

Breonna, a 26-year-old African American woman, was killed by the police who forcefully entered her house and shot her in association with a drug case. 

It’s already been a year since her wrongful death. 

So, you see? There is so much that’s wrong with the way our society functions and 24 hours of joyousness doesn’t undo it. 

We deserve respect and the right to a dignified life on the other 364 days as well. Let’s focus on that instead of hollow posts and tweets.