Five Ways To Celebrate International Women’s Day

Celebrate global sisterhood and self-love this weekend in honor of International Women’s Day. The holiday, which is observed in countries across the world, dedicates 24 hours to spotlighting women’s successes and emphasizing the continued need for full equality under the law.

Here are some celebration ideas to make your International Women’s Day especially womanly:

1) Treat yourself

In countries like Armenia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, International Women’s Day is regarded as a public holiday and workers are given the day off. Though the U.S. has not afforded the same kind of weight to IWD, take advantage of this year’s coincidental Sunday occasion and indulge in a day’s worth of self care. Submerge yourself in scented bathwater that exudes the sweet aroma of wage equality.  Exfoliate with a face mask that cleanses your pours of toxic gender stereotypes. Slough off dead skin as if it was a patriarchal construct. Dance around the house in your underwear, screaming, “Ain’t I a woman!”

2) Paint the town purple

Purple is the official color of International Women’s Day. The pigment of choice dates back to the suffrage days of the early 1900s, when purple was closely associated with the women’s suffrage movement. The color is meant to symbolize both dignity and justice. This holiday, gather a group of your boldest girlfriends and douse yourselves in anything and everything purple. Throw a girls-only party in which you take turns scrawling female empowerment statements across each others’ chests using various shades of purple lipstick. Decorate yourself with a collection of designs that not-so-subtly feature vaginal imagery, Georgia O’Keefe style.  Show off your aesthetic by marching through the streets while carrying a boom box that exclusively blasts Bratmobile and The Julie Ruin.

3) Get involved in an organization dedicated to women’s issues

This IWD, eat out for women’s rights. Donate to the Dining for Women campaign, an organization that fundraises to support grassroots programs that educate and empower women in impoverished countries. Though the organization’s main focus is to provide meals to women and families, it also strives to teach women applicable skills and marketing tactics so that they are better equipped to further themselves financially. A small contribution can have an immeasurable impact on a woman’s or family’s quality of life.

4) Have a movie marathon

Spend an evening with your favorite cinematic females. You and your friends can each recommend a movie featuring a badass leading lady (though, realistically, you’ll each suggest the same five movies and those movies will either be documentaries or biopics—because let’s face it, Hollywood is sexist). Devise a list of worthy films. Accidentally embark on an elongated discussion about the current state of women characters in television and film, and then promptly screen The Punk Singer and The Black Power Mixtape back-to-back. Optionally, watch The Runaways as an afterthought. Pretend that you’re watching ironically until you and your friends simultaneously begin to sing-scream the lyrics to “Cherry Bomb.”

5) Eat cupcakes (or don’t)

Apparently, cupcakes are the new vulva-shaped cookies? Oxfam and the University of Sussex are hosting cupcake-themed IWD events, and they’re distributing cupcakes as a symbol of the holiday. Some women are irked that the face of IWD suddenly seems to be a sweet and delicate dessert frosted with a hint of “get back in the kitchen where you belong.” One frustrated blogger called it ‘feminism-lite.’ So if a fluffy iced pastry is not your feminist motif of choice, create a different edible emblem that makes you feel like the fiercest version of yourself. Bake a hearty vegan meal seasoned with social justice and a hint of male tears.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user DonkeyHotey under license from Creative Commons 2.0.


Emily Mae Czachor is a print & digital journalism student at the University of Southern California and the senior culture editor of Neon Tommy. She is currently an editorial intern at Ms.