I have largely ignored International Women’s Day.
It has gotten lost among the proliferation of meaningless, monikerous days, weeks and months that we have designated to bring “awareness” to various issues. There’s National Debt Awareness Week, a salute to capitalism, There’s a National Do Your Fucking Job Day and Week for every single profession (I’ve lost my mind and probably contracted diabetes after having to endure three contiguous weeks of celebratory sugar and lard at my health-based job). There’s an International Smile Day (why is this not a whole month or even a year?), a National STFU day … if you’re keen on such things, there’s an Awareness Day Calendar that can be synced with your phone; I shan’t bore you with details here.
This year, in the final hours of International Women’s Day, Harvey Marcelin caught my attention. His ghastly image flashed across the TV screen. Harvey had separated a woman’s body. Harvey had left her scattered over different parts of a Brooklyn neighborhood. A hand here, foot there, head in his kitchen, eh … all in a day’s work.
You see, this wasn’t the first woman Harvey had killed. His first sentence had been drastically reduced; while out on parole, he killed again. He was then granted lifetime parole for the second murder. At eighty-three years old, what’s a man got to lose?
I should be embarrassed to admit this: it wasn’t the grizzly murder that grabbed my attention – such has become the callousness of our world – but rather the news-reporter’s hasty self-correction:
“So Harvey Marcelin has been arraigned and tonight he … sorry … ermm … SHE will spend the night in jail.” He cleared his throat with the anxiety of a fellow awaiting a public backlash, termination of employment, banishment.
She? In an interview decades earlier, Harvey Marcelin had admitted to “having a problem with women”. On at least two occasions, he had been released back into the world to female neighbors, unaware of his history, who had probably welcomed him with open arms. Susan Leyden, the woman he butchered on International Women’s Day, now had no arms.
Harvey’s cheap-ass, mugshot wig seemed like a moppy afterthought, rather than an intention; the kind of wig one steals from Party City for Halloween and hastily throws on to cover up one’s contempt for women. Sorry Harvey, you don’t get to be She.
The fact that we debate womanhood is painful.
We downgrade the word woman to “People Who Have Periods”, ignoring the global demise of women who undergo isolation and financial hardship due to actual periods; women subjected to clitoral mutilation, low education rates, poverty, a lifetime of subservience, and, yes, the threat of bodily dismemberment.
J.K. Rowling is laying in exile, deep in the Scottish Highlands, because she dared to question What In The Actual Fuck is Happening? The only reason her name remains mentionable is because she brought an unforgettable Boy Wizard into the world, and Disney just can’t lose all his fortune to cancel culture. That irony is painful and inescapable.
We can debate womanhood all we want, but the magic of the uterus remains undebatable; excitable ovaries, raging hormones, periodic exsanguination and babies attest to that – so does the joy of fruitfulness, the propagation of the human race and the continuing human story. Sadly, that very magic continues to render women as vulnerable prey for beasts like Marcelin.
Sadly, we live in a society where She can be ascribed to men who admittedly despise women.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Fuck you Harvey.