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Showing up

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, March 09, 2017 07:30 am

So, I guess yesterday was A Day Without a Woman. I didn't really notice. All the women I work with were there, doing their jobs as usual. They have jobs they need and duties that make others depend on them. When you're in a working environment like that, with everyone having complementary responsibilities, you show up. That's the deal. You don't have the privilege of calling a time out to show your solidarity with whatever silliness the left has decided to whine about.That's the operative word: privilege:

In the fine tradition of taking something that worked before and milking it to the point of uselessness or maybe self-parody, a strike has been called for March 8, International Women’s Day, also known this year as A Day Without a Woman. Organized by the groups behind the stunningly successful Women’s March in January, the strike, according to the website, seeks to recognize "the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socioeconomic system."

The organizers go on to explain that "anyone, anywhere can join … in one or all of the following ways: 1) Women take the day off from paid or unpaid labor; 2) Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses); 3) Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without a Woman."

[. . .]

Make no mistake, March 8 will mostly be a day without women who can afford to skip work, shuffle childcare and household duties to someone else, and shop at stores that are likely to open at 10 and close at 5. As for wearing red, what is the dress code, exactly? Are you supposed to wear your pink pussy hats, too?

The women I know didn't wear red, either, or stupid knit hats. They're not much into taking orders and marching in lockstep. You know what, they even actually smiled a time or too, believe it or not.

The "Day Without a Woman" strike on Wednesday may mean a day with fewer smiles.

While not every one plans to skip work, many who want to show solidarity with the growing feminist movement said they plan to strike from unpaid work that women disproportionately do, including cooking, cleaning and, some said, smiling.

More specifically, fake smiling.

Some feminists say the happy face they sport by habit — or on command — is a form of unpaid "emotional labor." They do it to be pleasant, to be likable, or because someone told them to do it: "Why don’t you smile!"

[. . .]

"Stop telling women to smile" has become a rallying point for feminists who say that men who cajole or prompt women to smile in public are asserting control.

My God, the sheer brutality of the patriarchy is appalling. To think, these poor, defenseless women feeling forced to smile in public just so some lousy men can feel like they're in control Oh, the humanity.

Oh, well.

I'm reading a new memoir that I highly recommend, "Shoot Like a Girl" by Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar. (Shoot like a girl, by the way, is a high compliment, not a sexist put-down.)  After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, "MJ" was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan flying combat search and rescue missions, culminating in a harrowing rescue attempt that would earn her the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device. On June 29, 2009,  she was shot down while on a Medevac mission. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients.

After such a harrowing experience, she could be forgiven for taking it easy, which she did by taking on the entire military establishment, with a class action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which kept female armed service members from officially serving in combat roles. The year after she filed suit, the Department of Defense dropped the policy.

I heard her on NPR and she was also on the CBS Morning News, and in both places (as well as in her book), she talked passionately about having a warriors heart:

"Right. I’ve seen men and women who were fit for combat that I wanted to fight beside, and men and women who I really wouldn’t want to go back into combat with. It really doesn’t have anything to do with gender. I feel I have a warrior’s heart, and it doesn’t have to do with anything —

"What is a ‘warrior’s heart’?" asked Mason.

"Just a drive to protect people and to run toward the emergency when everybody else is running away," Hegar explained. "You know, I think that that’s not something you can choose to do. It’s just something that you reflex-do, or you don’t."

When I heard that, I started thinking about all the people in my life, trying to decide how many of them have a warrior's heart. And the answer is, not many. She has very high standards. (But, to be fair, you never really know until a situation arises that makes you either step up or curl up into a quivering ball.) But I do know a lot of people who I know will always have my back and rightly expect me to always have theirs. Those are the people who know it's all about showing up.

I don't know what MJ was doing yesterday, but I doubt very much if she was marching in a red dress and sneering at all the people who desperately yearned for her to use credit cards. Wherever she was supposed to be, she was, and she had everybody's back.

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