"Women: Poetry, beauty, tenderness, intelligence, dedication, intensity and love. To you, every day." from Antônio Neto, Finance Secretary
I wanted to give a little update from Brazil on the passing of the International Women's Day. It is a highly discussed holiday in Brazil, though it lacks the expected partying and leisure associated with most holidays. Like Black Awareness Day, International Women's Day is a normal workday and more of a consciousness raising campaign than anything else. I was a bit underwhelmed by the amount of activities available in Bahia. There were a few book readings and film series offered by libraries in Salvador but in general I've just seen billboards, facebook posts and banners around celebrating women. They use overarching, bland phrase like "we love you, women warriors" or "respect women today, and every day" with a backdrop of pink and flowers. Overall I find it to be a lot of empty rhetoric and very little action.
That being said, I am more aware of this international holiday since living in Brazil. In the United States it appears to be celebrated only amongst progressives or feminists. Growing up I didn't even know March 8 had significance for women's movements, maybe because in practice it actually doesn't. The "One Billion Rising" mobilization initiated by Eve Ensler on V-Day seemed to exemplify real social intervention with the potential for results. I did see a bit of sympathetic participation in One Billion Rising on Valentine's Day in Brazil, though the momentum didn't quite match since Feb. 14 is not Valentine's Day, which is actually called "Boyfriend/Girlfriend's Day" (Dia dos Namorados) celebrated in June.
There is a fairly impressive scholarship on women's issues and feminist theory in Bahia, and I did have the pleasure of getting passed a reading list (in the spirit of International Women's Day) which could help me push my ideas of gender roles and women's movements in Bahia further. More to come...