We shouldn’t need a Women’s History Month.
We also shouldn’t need a Black History Month or a Hispanic Heritage Month. Considering the long-standing contributions of women and people of color in our society, it’s both lazy and insulting to shoehorn our national recognition into 31-days-or-less pockets. Instead, we like our history like we like our society—fully integrated.
And we’ve decided to make this integration literal. We at Jezebel and The Root will use this poor substitute for a proper American-history lesson as an opportunity to talk together about women’s issues. JezeRoot is real for the entire month of March. And it’s here just in time not to tell you, yet again, about Betsy Ross stitching together a flag or to go into typical fare about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (who is mad problematic).
Instead, we’re going to spend Women’s History Month talking about the women whom society would like you not to talk about. Society’s so-called bad women. “Women of ill repute.” Women who not only have had to fight for fair pay and equal treatment, but who also had to fight just to be considered women.
Thanks to a patriarchal, racist, white supremacist society hell-bent on keeping all women in their place, full human rights are a luxury that very few women have been afforded, particularly women of color, domestic workers and sex workers. The women in these roles are not just oft forgotten but also represent key facets of our society that are erected, sustained and felt most acutely by women: child care, sexual freedom, civil rights and immigration.
JezeRoot will address and examine the deeply politicized pasts of these underrepresented populations as well as their reality in 2018, and also look ahead at how their identities and challenges could—and arguably should—shape American infrastructure and the legislative landscape.
Domestic workers, sex workers and women of color are not just flash points of women’s history or windows into where many women have been. They represent the way forward—beyond Women’s History Month, Black History Month or the limited structure of any month. An exploration of their subjugation and the paths they have taken will lead us out of our segregated history and into a fully integrated future.