Womanly Month of March: Rewriting SDA History

Hey SDA! Guess what we are celebrating this month? Just guess.

If you said Manly Month of March, you are technically right. Here at SDA, we have chosen to dedicate a whole month in celebration of testosterone-fueled practices, including, but not limited to the ability to grow hair on one’s face and in other choice bodily areas. Two man points to you. God Bless America.

But if you only said Manly Month of March, I shake my head at you. Of course we needed a whole month dedicated to men, because we don’t already have enough days written into our calendar. People like Columbus, Martin Luther King, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln; they’re only singular males, and a majority white. Here at a demographically white-washed school, we need a time to celebrate all men, and re-invest into their egos the principles of manliness, which we tend to forget on this campus.

While the fact that dedicating a whole month to men seems like a completely original idea, one good for a month that doesn’t have many holidays, this whole month had already been put on reserve, and put on reserve nationally.

Nationwide, March is reserved toward a history of not the man, but the WOman. That’s right my fellow students, it just so happens to be Women’s History Month.

So I want you to ask yourself if you knew this awareness movement was happening this month, if you had heard of any events going on to recognize its significance, or if you even knew what Women’s History Month was before now.

I’m assuming that you didn’t exactly nail the majority of those questions. So for all those out there with the “ignorance is bliss” disposition, I’ve come to burst your bubble a bit.

First let’s start off with some cold hard truths. Fact-checking all my knowledgeable tidbits of feminism with the Library of Congress, International Women’s Day was started in 1909, with the holiday taking place March 8. Being the individualistic, yet slow-to-catch-on Americans we are, the United States decided to go big or go home 70 years later. Instead of a day, we dedicated a whole WEEK to women. In 1987, we expanded it to a whole MONTH.

But why on earth would anyone in their right mind dedicate a whole month to Women’s History? I swear, they didn’t even do that much until like the 1800s.

Well, the main reason to establish Women’s History Month goes along the lines of Black History Month. The curriculum of elementary through high school years does not offer near enough compulsory lessons on the role of women in history

The focus on women’s history offers all student a chance to “write women back into history,” to invest some time to studying excellent women whose ideas and innovations were suppressed for millenniums or credited to men. For example, the first university that continues to exist today was started by Fatima al-Fihri, a Muslim woman. Few people acknowledge her feat and less praise it, to this day.

It also serves as a reminder that women in the land of the free have not possessed our freedoms for long. The right to vote goes back only four or five generations from the teens of today. The right to divorce did not come easily, nor did the right to property. Women fought hard, and women fought dirty for those rights.

So that’s where my dilemma comes into play. Why on earth would SDA, a liberal and self-professed progressive school, dedicate a month that Congress appointed to the triumphs of women to old gender stereotypes? It didn’t help that an attempt to include girls in the challenge meant stripping them of make-up. I take it as a nod to the notion that what makes a girl feminine is her usage of beauty product, and to become “manly” she must neglect what might make her feel self-assured and ethereal.

The girls are the ones who, at the end of this month, will be chopping off all their hair and sending it to Locks of Love. That’s one of the main objective of this challenge right? To give hair to charity? So men grow their hair out, but women chop it off? Most guys at this school have hair barely reaching their shoulders. Why are we spraying masculine propaganda on to all walks of life at this school, and then asking girls to cut off what separates them from the idea of being a man? Those ideas seem skewed.

For many girls, including myself, the choice to cut hair off is quite an emotional one. Last year at the strange ceremony I witnessed more than one girl break down during or after chopping their hair off. I’m not campaigning for the school to stop supporting Locks of Love, because their cause is just. I’m simply saying that a refocus on the tribes and tribulations of women would tie Locks of Love closer to the actual participants.

Instead of dedicating a month to men, why not focus on the works of women and then ask them to donate their hair? Why not, for example, introduce the challenge by teaching girls about the flappers of the 1920s, who cut off all their hair into stylish bobs as a sign of new-found freedom and sexual liberation?

Why not follow the National Women’s History Project at school in March? They announce the theme of the project annually. The 2016 theme is “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government. This would give the SDA community an already established challenge to follow and a chance to compete with other schools knowledgeably.

In this time of recognition of minorities and groups under duress, it amazes me that SDA would use a government-endorsed event to celebrate a notion of stereotype that seems so outdated. I advise that SDA looks into the past again to find a more accepting future.