Take your Women’s Day and shove it*

Women's Day march.jpg

[Warning: this post contains a lot of bad language and shouting. My parents should stop reading now.]

Dear Government (big, small, national and local),

Here’s an idea. Take your pathetic, meaningless, mind-blowingly expensive and stomach-churningly patronising Women’s Day and cancel it. Cancel the entire idea of “women’s month”. Tell me, what is the FUCKING point?

Trash that ridiculous, pointless, bloated Dept of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (how’s that for neatly categorising us little ladies – not only does possession of a vagina constitute a disability, but vagina-owners are as powerless and lacking in agency as children). It’s no more than a particularly sanctimonious event-planning agency. The departmental mission? “Ooh, women and children are getting raped and abused, they bear the brunt of criminally lousy education and brutal poverty: LET THEM EAT CUPCAKES! Plus we’ll throw in some glossy leaflets, and send someone in a designer suit to pat heads and make a speech full of platitudes before we jet off for another shopping trip er international conference.”

So ditch the pointless sodding public holiday (estimated cost to the economy: SEVEN BILLION). Stop bleating about the month of women. It’s PATHETIC, considering it’s open season on South African women 24/7, year in, year out. Our rape stats are a global disgrace (Goddess, how many times do I have to FUCKING say this, the WORST in the world for a country not at war – the scale is unimaginable, the suffering ditto), black lesbians have “carve me up and smash my brains in” signs stamped on their backs, rural women and children live in relentless, grinding misery and poverty HUGELY exacerbated by patriarchal strictures, which are of course absolutely sacred (and the fact that the Traditional Courts Bill, which would render these women even more helpless and wretched, is actually allowed to pollute national airtime is a bloody disgrace). We are failing, no, betraying, no, ABUSING children by callously pissing away their only shot at an education, their ONLY chance of a life of decent employment, a form of abuse that will affect girls worse than boys; we’re losing ground in terms of infant and maternal mortality; women without cash are being denied C-sections at state hospitals and giving birth to stillborn babies on the floor as a result. SO DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT FUCKING WOMEN’S DAY YOU BOZOS.

Here’s a better idea. Instead of the jamborees and a long weekend of more boozing and beatings and rapes, take the money – the obscene piles and piles of it you intend to waste – and use it to fund Rape Crisis, which is having to CLOSE ITS FUCKING DOORS because you don’t think it’s worth supporting, never mind that it does priceless work, not just in enabling women and their families to pick up their lives after they’ve been blown apart, but in taking an enormous burden off both the public health and criminal justice systems. Fund the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, which is literally having bake sales to keep running. All those NGOs that have lost their overseas funding because of the economic crisis – how about funding them, the hundreds that work with the poorest of the poor (which, SURPRISE! equates women and children), which do invaluable work for women with TB or Aids, which support women who are raising grandchildren, running crèches, soup kitchens, micro-employment schemes, food gardens, hospices and all the heroic things that South African women do to keep this country running, NO FUCKING THANKS TO YOU.

Stop whining about the Lotto (an additional tax on the poor) and big business, and how “they need to come to the party”. International funders have been warning for South African NGOs for years, you’re not a baby democracy any more, YOUR government needs to start picking up the tab for this. And so you bloody well ought. What’s next, asking the Lotto or big business to supply the state with ambulances?

So grow the fuck up. Cancel the froth and bubbles. What you have reduced the 1956 Women’s March to is a travesty. That was an occasion of extraordinary dignity and power, and we’d like to remember and honour it without having to use sickbags, please. Lilian Ngoyi and Albertina Sisulu and the thousands of brave women who took part that day are squirming in their graves at your appalling, ongoing, almost CASUAL abandonment of this country’s women, especially the poorest ones. The public spectacle of hypocrisy that is Women’s Day is just rubbing salt into their wounds.

*Never post in a rage. But sometimes rage is appropriate.

Update, Friday, 3pm: I’m stunned that this has gone viral. Thanks to all for the support and interest. If this has touched a nerve then PLEASE copy, post and tweet Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, as follows: @HelenZille Rape Crisis is shutting down during Women’s Month. Insane! Fund it now! #SaveRapeCrisis

Nick Mulgrew