Every time Women's Month comes around, I think about the posts, think-pieces and events focusing on the plight of modern day women that are to come. My stomach goes into knots in anticipation. The irony of being a writer for a women's empowerment platform that dreads Women's Month is not lost on me. But then I always have been a 'glass half-empty' person. Officially, the next thirty one days are in honour of the South African women of 1956 who marched to the Union Buildings in protest against the proposed pass laws. We will celebrate the emotional, psychological and physical resilience of women, singing praises of their unbelievable strength while continuing to gloss over the heavy burden that is this resilience. We will sit in venues draped in pink and gold material, and talk about ourselves only in relation to men.
In Naledi's Survival Mode Reimagined series, she writes, "fighting fire with fire...is likely to only create a living hell”. The ‘girl power politics’ of August often feel like misdirected energy, with weak attempts being made at addressing our core issues as modern-day women. It’s all good and well getting applause for handling hardships with grace, but if every September the overwhelming feeling among us is futility, then obviously something’s amiss in our supposed sisterhood.
This Women's Month, I implore you to take note of the plight of the women who tend to be overlooked: Trans women, rural women, asexual women, (intentionally) unmarried women. I need for us to talk about womanhood beyond the pretty, surface level aspects, so that we can stop faking self-sufficiency behind our Womandla t-shirts and actually begin doing work worth celebrating ourselves for. I need for us to make sure that this time is different.
By Nande Nodada