On Int'l Women's Day: Celebrated in China, Forgotten in America | Speaking of China

29 Responses

  1. chinaelevatorstories
    chinaelevatorstories March 11, 2013 at 7:36 am | | Reply

    We only got half a day off on International Women’s Day from my company, but half a day isn’t too bad either. We also got small presents – a notebook, a wallet and condoms. Although it was probably meant to be funny, I thought condoms were a great idea, kind of like celebrating women’s independence from merely being a housewife and mother.

  2. chinaelevatorstories
    chinaelevatorstories March 11, 2013 at 8:02 am | | Reply

    … and propagating safe sex at the same time.

  3. Rosie Zhao
    Rosie Zhao March 11, 2013 at 8:13 am | | Reply

    I’m from the US as well and never heard of it either, until moving to China. In the ridiculously P.C. (in my opinion) state that the U.S. currently is in, I can’t help wonder if we don’t celebrate the day because it would be labeled “sexist” or “unfair.” It would be particularly problematic if we got a day off while all the men had to stay at work. I just can’t ever see that happening unless there was also an International Men’s Day to keep things in balance. I personally appreciate having the day because I do think women are under-valued in many parts of the world.

  4. Bruce
    Bruce March 11, 2013 at 8:27 am | | Reply

    I like the idea of giving out condoms on Int’l women’s day.

  5. Sveta
    Sveta March 11, 2013 at 9:46 am | | Reply

    We celebrate March 8th in Russia too. I already knew that Americans are not aware of the day. Doesn’t surprise me at all. My dad often says that if its called Women’s Day, why isn’t the whole world celebrating it? Why only China and Russia? We honestly didn’t do anything special for it, just wished happy March 8th to one another and that’s it. March 8th was not exactly a good day for us.

  6. Sheila
    Sheila March 11, 2013 at 10:58 am | | Reply

    As a matter of fact, Intl’ Women’s Fest is pretty big in China. It’s a good thing to celebrate, dine out, and go shopping!

  7. Claire
    Claire March 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm | | Reply

    I only became aware of International Women’s Day when I saw it on a Sexy Beijing video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jGJbyLyk0o
    http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzYyMzEyNjgw.html

    Even though I am aware of it I never remember it until I hear or read about it on the day – I can’t keep track of all these dedicated days or weeks! I could become more aware in exchange for a day off work though haha.

    Some women won’t truly want to celebrate in case it makes them look unequal to men. I’m not sure how mainstream it is but I read that women in the Netherlands usually reduce their working hours after marriage even if they don’t have children. It would be interesting to see how popular International Women’s Day is over there.

  8. mira
    mira March 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm | | Reply

    Not sure about the UK however Australia and USA did not/does not celebrate Women’s day. I believe it’s mainly celebrated in Asia and Europe.

    I work in a western company and unfortunately we didn’t get 1/2 day off, but I did get a rose! The restaurant I was having dinner at gave each lady a rose which I thought was a lovely gesture.

  9. centaur
    centaur March 12, 2013 at 2:23 am | | Reply

    The IWD is deeply rooted in the socialist movement at the beginning of the 20th century. It was mostly celebrated in the (former) socialist-camp countries, and, because of that, shunned by the western countries.

  10. Laura
    Laura March 12, 2013 at 3:10 am | | Reply

    Really? In Spain we do celebrate the day too, same as in China, though I´m not sure if women usually have the day off, I can´t remember that. But there are plenty of lunch / dinner that day, some speech, some postcard,…

    Sometimes we need to go abroad to learn more about our own culture!

  11. centaur
    centaur March 12, 2013 at 4:27 am | | Reply

    @Laura, IWD is better known in Western European countries where the communist party had a more profound influence: France, Greece, Spain, Italy, etc. It was actually called “International Working Women’s Day” before.

  12. Laura
    Laura March 12, 2013 at 4:34 am | | Reply

    @centaur,
    You are 100% right! Back home we still call it like that 😉
    That day, at school we used to talk about what happened in that factory, why it happened… specially if you study Philosophy, like I did during my High School years, it comes along with Marx and Engel. Socialism.

    🙂

  13. Julie
    Julie March 12, 2013 at 8:23 am | | Reply

    Fascinating–I’m from the US and definitely have heard of it and have often gone to a day-long celebration of it focusing on women’s human rights around the world in Minneapolis, and there was talk of it all over my facebook and twitter feeds last week… So perhaps it depends where you are? . . here in Shanghai I noticed a lot of happy hours/ladies’ nights in honor of the day, which was a different take on it than I’d seen before.

  14. Sam
    Sam March 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm | | Reply

    just my take on this matter. I don’t know about the situation in America but here in Asia, we men can still be men, and our women can still be women. don’t get me wrong. I believe in equality but at the same time we should also be allowed to be ourselves, men be men and women be women. I hope female readers of this blog do not misinterpreted what I was trying to convey.

  15. BBC
    BBC March 13, 2013 at 9:52 am | | Reply

    Sam says:
    March 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm
    just my take on this matter. I don’t know about the situation in America but here in Asia, we men can still be men, and our women can still be women. don’t get me wrong. I believe in equality but at the same time we should also be allowed to be ourselves, men be men and women be women. I hope female readers of this blog do not misinterpreted what I was trying to convey.
    =========

    There’s nothing worse than a sexist trying to show themselves as supporting equality – then proving otherwise in the same comment.

    It’s pretty easy to “misinterpret what you are trying to say”…. guy or girl…. so basically, we should all be who we want to be – as long as “men are men and women are women” – implying that men should fit into their gender stereotypes prescribed by society, and women do the same. Provided we all do that, then we should be “allowed to be ourselves”

    Basically – me man – me work and provide, you woman, you stay in kitchen and cook.

  16. Sam
    Sam March 13, 2013 at 9:16 pm | | Reply

    @BBC

    there you go again. and to justify your antics, you put
    “as long as “men are men and women are women” – implying that men should fit into their gender stereotypes” and the key term “prescribed by society” to further your attacks on my comment.

    but your attack didn’t end there. you continued your rampage by writing
    “Provided we all do that, then we should be “allowed to be ourselves”.

    since you used BBC as your “name”, I have no way to respond since, first, if you come in later to comment on what I say in your comment, you will then say that I m sexist or racist, since in this case I have no way of knowing whether you are a man or woman, or Asian or Caucasian or anything. and so in all likely cases, whatever reply I m sending, you can either accuse me of being a sexist/misogynist or a racist.

    but there is one thing I m going to point out to you and anyone else for that matter.

    in Asia for instance, when men and women go shopping, the men carry the bags for the women. men open the doors for women. the women take care of the family’s finances and in Asian society, those that look after the family’s finances are deemed, regarded as having power over the family, and husbands do not insist on their wives adopting the husband’s family name, as pointed out by Jocelyn in one of her articles.

    I m pointing out those examples not to berate anyone of any ethnicity. I m pointing out those examples to show people that in Asian society as a whole, there is equality. but one thing that Asians care the most about is balance. after all in Chinese society, there’s the concept of Yin and Yang which is not the clash of opposites as perceived by most westerners, but is actually a confluence of opposites to achieved a balanced state of existence.

    and one more thing. I m Asian, Chinese to be precise. and I m a man, the youngest of 3 brothers. thank you for reading my comment.

  17. forest
    forest March 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm | | Reply

    There is no mentioning in media … so I forgot about it 🙁

  18. Sam
    Sam March 13, 2013 at 9:52 pm | | Reply

    @BBC

    there you go again. to justify your antics, you wrote ”
    as long as “men are men and women are women” – implying that men should fit into their gender stereotype” but the key term here is “prescribed by society” to continue with your attacks on my comment.

    but you didn’t stop there. you continued your rampage by saying “Provided we all do that, then we should be “allowed to be ourselves”. I must say you are being ingenious there.

    since you used BBC as your name, I have no way to respond to your comment since any comment by me will simply be construed as sexist, or even worst racist as I have no way of knowing whether you are a man or woman, or Asian or Caucasian or anything for that matter. you can just simply say my comment is sexist/misogynist or racist to suit your purpose, of which only you yourself know.

    but there are things that I must point out to you and anyone else for that matter.

    in Asia, for example, when men and women go shopping, the men carry the bags for the women. men open the door for women. in Asian families, the women look after the family’s finances, and in Asian society, the person responsible for managing the family’s finances is deemed, regarded as the one who holds sway over the family. also, in Asia, husbands do not insist on their wives adopting the family names of their husbands, as pointed out by Jocelyn in one of her articles, not because the husband purposely set out to deny his wife of anything, but because in Asian society, your family name informs you of your roots, of your origins.

    I m pointing out those examples not to berate anyone of any ethnicity but to inform people that in Asia, we do have equality. after all, women hold up half the sky. but in Asia, we also value balance. as most people know, in Chinese society for instance, there’s the concept of Yin and Yang, which by the way is not a clash of opposites, as perceived by most westerners, but is actually a confluence of opposites to achieve a state of balanced existence.

    and one more thing. I m Asian, Chinese to be precise. I m also a man, the youngest of 3 brothers. thank you for reading my comment. I actually sent a comment similar to this one earlier but somehow some tech glitch happened and the comment didn’t show up here. my apologies.

  19. Laura
    Laura March 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm | | Reply

    @BBC,
    What do you mean with ” men can be men and women can be women”?
    I need further explanations…

  20. centaur
    centaur March 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm | | Reply

    I find the name “BBC” tasteless and rude.

  21. Laura
    Laura March 14, 2013 at 7:47 pm | | Reply

    @centaur,
    Why? What´s the meaning of BBC?

  22. Sam
    Sam March 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm | | Reply

    @Laura – this person by the name BBC made it obvious for everyone when he/she wrote “Basically – me man – me work and provide, you woman, you stay in kitchen and cook.” what’s on his/her mind but his reply to my comment, at the very beginning, was simply ingenious. and Laura, if you really want to know what I was trying to convey when I wrote “men be men, women be women”, read and re-read my reply to BBC.

  23. Laura
    Laura March 14, 2013 at 8:59 pm | | Reply

    @Sam,
    Thanks, In fact I read your comments but seems like I did not get what he was meaning.
    “We can find this kind of especies in every country” – says my grandma

  24. centaur
    centaur March 14, 2013 at 10:08 pm | | Reply

    @Laura, Sam,
    If you look up “BBC” in Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bbc), there are only two interpretations. One is the British Broadcasting Company.

    And based on this post:
    http://www.speakingofchina.com/china-articles/disagreeing-news-finding-way-back-to-love/#comment-50865
    I find it hard to believe Mr. BBC is paying homage to the old British radio station.

    Perhaps I shall adopt “BAB” as my next nom de guerre. (And, Mr. BBC, that stands for Big Asian Brain.)

  25. Nina
    Nina July 3, 2013 at 8:23 am | | Reply

    I never knew about it before I came to Eastern Europe and in a lot of countries here it’s a holiday. Why is it that this day is so strong in more communistic countries?

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