Today is International Women's Day. The first such celebration in this country was held 110 years ago in New York City, and was organized by the Socialist Party of America. It has been celebrated worldwide in the years since, especially since the United Nations adopted it in 1975.
For the record, there is an International Men's Day. It's newer, and was first observed in the early '90s, but it is celebrated in several countries around the world every Nov. 19.
However, I doubt critics of this celebration know or care about this history, especially based upon their searches compiled by Google Trends each March 8.
Google searches for “International Men's Day” peak on International Women's Day.
“While there are spikes in November for Men's Day, the bigger spike in searches is, sigh, yes, on International Women's Day,” reported Mashable's Marcus Gilmer on March 8, 2018.
No one who submitted these queries seemed very concerned about the opposite scenario, though.
“There's no apparent surge in searches for International Women's Day on International Men's Day,” reported Gilmer.
This sort of whataboutism springs from the same well which inspires some to ask why there isn't a “White History Month” every February during Black History Month.
When a systematically marginalized group seeks recognition for its culture and history, it is not intended as an attack on the dominant culture. It's meant as a corrective because there is something inherently missing in the status quo.
As the adage goes, when you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.
We need International Women's Day because in the patriarchal system we live under, every other day of the year is a “men's day” by default.
We need Black History Month because our country was founded on white supremacy, and the other 11 months of the year may as well already be “white history months.”
Perhaps counter-intuitively, these celebrations have the most potential to positively impact those who don't think they need them at all. It's a chance to reflect on the story you've been told, and the stories you haven't found a reason to seek out on your own.
We all have blind spots in our knowledge and understanding of the struggles our fellow humans go through. That's not a problem. To remain willfully ignorant and immediately dismiss other perspectives is, though.