There is no organized A Day Without a Woman protest planned for Wednesday in the Seattle area amid charges of “white privilege.” What may be the only Puget Sound area event is a free yoga open house in Kirkland.
So maybe it wasn’t the best thought-out event, A Day Without a Woman general strike this Wednesday, on International Women’s Day.
“Stupid. That’s what I first thought,” says Angie Beem, the state director of the Women’s March that in Seattle drew tens of thousands of participants on Jan. 21.
“What’s the purpose of a strike when you can’t afford a day to not work? Women who could possibly do this are in an executive-type position. Life will go on for them. Their career is more stable. This screamed …”
Guess the next two words.
“White privilege,” concludes Beem.
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Her group is not sponsoring any events associated with A Day Without a Woman, which also coincides with International Women’s Day.
There are strike events promised in New York, Washington, D. C., Boston and even Fairbanks.
Beem remembers a tweet coming a month or so ago from the national Women’s March group.
“It was just two women who decided it was going to happen. They put this out on social media without discussing it,” says Beem.
“Facebook blew up. There were a lot of people like myself saying, ‘This isn’t right.’ ”
She says she had the same misgivings about “A Day Without Immigrants” that took place Feb. 16 — that there’s too much risk. News reports said a number of protesters were fired for not showing up for work that day.
“People are desperate to take some action and some control over their lives,” says Beem. “Then they make the horrible choice of not going to work and their whole career is over.”
While Beem doesn’t agree with the strike, the event was later expanded to include avoiding shopping that day — except for at small women-and-minority owned businesses — and wearing red in solidarity.
About the color red, says the national group, “We have chosen red as a color of signifying revolutionary love and sacrifice. Red is the color of energy and action associated with our will to survive. It signifies a pioneering spirit and leadership qualities, promoting ambition and determination.”
Beem says she will wear red on Wednesday.
Some comments about the strike on the Facebook page of the Women’s March of Washington included:
“I have to engage in paid work. It’s my job and I’m a single mom and can’t afford to lose my job.”
“As a health care professional, I can’t bring myself to “strike,” however I will wear a red ribbon proudly on my scrub.”
“I hope my boss is supportive and understanding when I don’t show up on March 8th. I could use a day away from my workplace, demonstrating and standing with many others to emphasize the importance of women in the workforce. Oh wait. I’m self employed. Never mind.”
Beem says about the Jan. 21 women’s march that filled downtown streets in many cities, “We made such a difference. We have the attention of people. We need to see it in a positive light. We don’t need a strike to get more attention.”
A quick internet search throughout the Puget Sound area shows a variety of events for International Women’s Day — including at Town Hall and the Gates Foundation — but only one local event associated with the strike: a free yoga open house at Spa Eir in Kirkland.
“Let us be your sanctuary for the afternoon, a place to celebrate yourself,” says a posting from the spa.
It will offer “slow flow yoga,” “yin yoga,” aromatherapy and singing bowls (we’ll explain those later).
Owner Natalie Nelson says, “I’m pretty passionate about women’s issues and want to give back to the movement. We’re happy to give space to commune and relax.”
As for the “white privilege” argument from Beem, Nelson says there should be women workers who could come by in the afternoon.
Also, “not everybody works a traditional job. They work evening shifts, weekend shifts,” she says.
And as for singing bowls, specifically Tibetan singing metal bowls, according to BuddhaGroove.com, they “have been used for centuries to enhance meditation practices. The relaxing harmonics are created by tapping the side of the bowl and then rubbing an instrument, or striker, along the bowl’s rim to produce humming vibrations which quickly fill the room.”
You know, given what’s in the headlines these days, maybe we all need some of those vibrations.