Jeff J.

Jeff J.
Location
Cattlearoma, New Mexico, USA
Birthday
June 08
Title
free and clear
Company
seldom
Bio
A computer programmer who is no longer geeky enough to be interested in how software is constructed; I care more about what software can do for people; or even more about people, period. Mostly interested in the taboo subjects of religion and politics: religion as an atheist, and politics as a left-leaning Democrat. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Any work copied or excerpted under this license should be attributed to Jeffrey G. Johnson, and included with a link to this blog.

MARCH 8, 2012 2:12PM

International Women's Day

Rate: 6 Flag

How many Americans even know that every year March 8 is designated as International Women's Day?

I was born in 1959, and lived all my life in the US, and I had never even heard of it until I was in Mongolia one year in the late 90s. In Mongolia, as in all former or current communist or socialist countries, International Women's day is a big deal. Women frequently get off work, or can leave early, and groups of women go out and celebrate together. Women receive gifts and flowers, not unlike Mother's Day or Valentine's Day, but it is also a day for women to break away from responsibilities and from the men, to let loose and have some fun. It isn't unusual to see boisterous groups of women in various stages of intoxication and talkative good cheer in restaurants or bars, or moving between private parties. It's almost like the whole country throws a giant bachelorette party, but without the gaudy commercialized catering by a specialized wedding and entertainment industry. But it is also a day to raise the awareness of imp0rtant political or economic issues that effect the lives of women.

International Women's Day actually began in the US in 1909, and was initially a part of the Socialist movement's efforts to advance the cause of women's rights. Perhaps it is because it started out as, and remained for many decades, an exclusively socialist goal to work for women's right to vote, to have the option to break free of the drudgery of domestic servitude and to work or become educated and have a profession, that International Women's Day has remained largely unacknowledged and not widely celebrated in the conservative patriarchal capitalist world of the United States.

My wife is from Mongolia, and she grew up under a Soviet dominated communist system. In Mongolia, a country that has lived under communism, even today in a fledgling democratic capitalist economy, people have a much different attitude toward communism than Americans generally do.  Many Mongolians recall the communist era as a time of virtually non-existant crime, economic equality and economic modesty, free education and healthcare, and a deep sense of security and social harmony. There are also bad memories of abuses of government authority, and especially negative are the memories of the persecution of Buddhist monks and the destruction of monastaries. But today, in a thriving capitalist system, many people, especially the older generations, are angry and resentful over the extremes of economic inequality, the exploitation of the country's mineral resources by a few powerful entrepreneurs, the corruption of democratic institutions and elections, and the rising levels of crime and poverty that were non-existant in the communist era.

It seems an odd irony that in communist countries there would be a day actively celebrating the freedom and individual rights of women, while in America women are celebrated primarily as mothers or as romantic partners on Mother's Day or Valentine's Day. I think this doesn't seem so ironic to former communists. In Mongolia, whenever I performed any act of kindness or generosity, I would be called a communist. Unlike in the US, it is a high form of compliment to call someone a good communist, kind of like calling someone a good Christian or a good citizen in America.

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Countries America despises as third world are ahead in this aspect than America itself, Jeff. We may look down on Pakistan, Turkey, Phillipines, but they already had a female president and/or prime minister in the last century. Just an example. US still has its head in the sand when it comes to recognizing power to women, politically or over their own bodies.

Canada will be celebrating October 11, 2012 as the first International Girls' Day to empower girls for the future and educate them about their potential.

http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/med/news-nouvelles/2012/0308-eng.html
R♥
Very true. The US has a lot of blind spots, and chief among these is it's own sense of superiority coupled with it's general lack of awareness and understanding of the rest of the world. The references to foreign countries in the US media tend to be unbelievably naive and cartoonish.

Based on media and marketing imagery, the United States culture still seems more prepared to give women outlets for using sex as a form of power than it is willing to allow women to be empowered by their brainpower and creativity.
This is actually the first year I've heard of it and it's only because it was all over Twitter and Facebook. I don't even think mainstream media covered it. I'd like to see it marked as an actual holiday here and celebrated the way it is in Mongolia. Maybe over time, America will catch on. Thanks for raising awareness.
I'm surprised to hear IWD is not being celebrated. Been acknowledging and celebrating it here for the last 30 years of my life. Back in the 80's had to answer the criticism on why it was important that it was women only playing the stage on March 8. If they have to ask the question ...they don't get it.

Looking at the Rosie the Rivetter poster in my girl's room. :)
Perhaps if Obama is re-elected and completes his conversion of the U.S. economy to socialism, you will see more recognition here of International Women's Day. That certainly is enough reason to replace a system that works with one that has failed everywhere.
Arthur, thanks for the comic relief. A little absurdity now and then helps keep things in perspective. Only a conservative with brain in maximum-totalize mode could see advocacy of socialism here. Keeping the slippery slope detectors on 11 I see. Are communists hiding behind your refrigerator? Better go check...
"Perhaps it is because it started out as, and remained for many decades, an exclusively socialist goal to work for women's right to vote, to have the option to break free of the drudgery of domestic servitude and to work or become educated and have a profession, that International Women's Day has remained largely unacknowledged and not widely celebrated in the conservative patriarchal capitalist world of the United States."

"But today, in a thriving capitalist system, many people, especially the older generations, are angry and resentful over the extremes of economic inequality, the exploitation of the country's mineral resources by a few powerful entrepreneurs, the corruption of democratic institutions and elections, and the rising levels of crime and poverty that were non-existant in the communist era."

"In Mongolia, whenever I performed any act of kindness or generosity, I would be called a communist. Unlike in the US, it is a high form of compliment to call someone a good communist, kind of like calling someone a good Christian or a good citizen in America."

Jeff, am I misquoting you?

I will check behind my refrigerator, but after learning from you how benign communism is, I won't mind if I find a communist there. I can only hope that it will be Stalin himself, perhaps somewhat the worse for wear, or at least someone equally noble.
Arthur,
You quoted me accurately. I was just stating some facts about people in Mongolia, people I know and people my wife knows and things she tells me.

How does your mind spin this into me saying communism is totally benign? I did mention for example the religious persecution. I think a more correct and logical interpretation of what I actually said here would be that communism was not totally evil.

Here is your logic:
communism is all bad; therefore nothing good can be said about it.
If a person says some good things about communism, he must believe communism is all good. He must be a bad person. He must be attacked.

See how silly your "logic" is?

Your bias would have been confirmed if I talked about how terrible communism was. But my wife is living evidence that is not true. She grew up in a loving family, 30 years under communism. Her mother and father were entertainers who travelled around performing on stage. They lived over 60 years under communism. She has brothers and sisters and they have led happy lives and received educations and they love their country. They have lived satisfying lives, and they are wonderful, kind, generous, loving people. My wife the communist is an angel and I couldn't live without her.

Evidently you think I'm lying; you think you know better.

I don't advocate socialism. And to claim that Obama is a socialist is absolutely absurd (which is why I figured you were being a paranoid nut). You would have a hard time compiling a set of facts that could persuade a neutral dispassionate judge that Barack Obama is converting the US economy to socialism. You don't have a leg to stand on, and in your heart you must know that is totally fabricated intemperate propaganda.
Jeff,
It's actually very simple:
If you can believe that the President is a closet Muslims who was far too close to the Pastor of his church
you can believe that he's a socialist.
Isn't it amazing how many industries he's nationalized?
Isn't it amazing that we still have historically low tax rates on corporations and the wealthy, and doesn't that indicate socialism in the White House?
Doesn't the fact that he closed down Guantanamo Bay show that he's soft on terrorism..................oh wait, he didn't close it. Oops.
Doesn't the fact that he eliminated Don't Ask Don't Tell as soon as he took office indicate that...........oh wait, he didn't?

Yeah. Real radical.
Most of the former communist countries provided opportunities for higher education to women on a scale we would do well to emulate. I was astonished when I read statistics on the high female percentages of doctors, scientists, and engineers. Sure, they were not paid anything close to what they would be in the west, but at least they could use their minds, and a welfare system that provided childcare made it possible to have a family life.