I’ve been thinking how stupid it is to have an International Women’s Day, but I didn’t know how to approach my feelings without seeming reflexively contrarian. Women are great, but no greater than non-women.
International women are great but so are local women. Women have supported me but woman have also been mean to me, and I mean mean. Woman make up half of the world’s population, so a single day of recognition seems absurd. All the jargon of fourth-wave feminism is repellent to me. I want equal pay for equal work and equal treatment under the law, but that’s where my interest ends. I know, I know.
I once believed that women wanted three things: Oral sex, ice cream, and a nice handbag. Now I feel I was way too hasty. We don’t want the handbag anymore. It’s no longer a big deal, right ladies? So I don’t know what that third thing is. Maybe my readers can suggest something.
I do know what women don’t want. We don’t want to be raped or assaulted. We don’t want mansplaining, pantyhose, clitorectomy, burkas, menstruation-shaming, honor killings, forced marriage, cellulite, and we don’t want men to push on our heads when we’re servicing them, alright? We want to breathe!
Luckily, I’ve just discovered the word “canceled” even though I’m late to the concept. Canceled refers to total disinvestment in something (or someone). It can come swiftly with one stupid tweet, or any instance of pissing people off. Jussie Smolett has been canceled, obviously, and so has Kanye. But not all cancellations are the result of a transgression; you can be canceled for no reason. We must all live in fear of being canceled, especially if we’re heavy users of social media.
“It’s a cultural boycott,” said Lisa Nakamura, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the intersection of digital media and race, gender and sexuality. “It’s an agreement not to amplify, signal boost, give money to. People talk about the attention economy — when you deprive someone of your attention, you’re depriving them of a livelihood.”
If you announce that someone is canceled, they’re canceled. But the cancellation may not be universal. Or people can forget you’ve been cancelled, as in the case of Kanye or Taylor Swift. Under certain circumstances, the canceled may be uncanceled.
I’m canceling myself before someone else does it. But first I’m canceling International Women’s Day. Because once you’ve been canceled, you probably lose the power to cancel.
The best example of cancel culture is a Kosoko Jackson, a writer whose young-adult novel was pulled before publication due to a frenzied twitter backlash. Jackson, who is not only black and gay but also a “sensitivity reader for a major publishing house,” had the temerity to include an Albanian Muslim character in his novel and MAKE HIM A VILLAIN!!! Ha. Bastard. I hope he’s learned his lesson.