I grew up in culture that celebrates International Women’s Day. And I mean really celebrates it: flowers, chocolates and cliché online greeting cards included.
You see, “8th March” (as this occasion is known in Russian) is the Communists’ answer to Valentine’s Day.
And even though I am immensely grateful that the Communist era with its countless infringements of humans rights has passed, I am glad that “8th March” has outlived the Soviet Union and continues to be celebrated across the former Eastern Bloc. It is one of the very few things that the Communists got right and, in fact, I wish that the West would learn from them.
Popular culture teaches us that the we, as women, deserve only to be treated if we have a significant other in our lives. (Alternatively, we could go against the voice of self-hatred that the media nurtures within us and treat ourselves on our own, but in the age of Tinder that is a far more difficult feat than securing a sub par date.)
Instead, cultures that celebrate International Women’s Day teach women that they are inherently worthy of such treatment. Young or old. Single or married. I cannot remember an 8th March when I did not receive congratulations from our relatives alongside my mother and my sisters; I cannot remember an 8th March when our father didn’t plan a special treat for us.
Of course, I still receive unsolicited relationship advice, but not on 8th March.
Instead, International Women’s Day is a day when women are celebrated as they are.
Because your relationship status will change, but your worth will not.