by Kristina Murkett
Tuesday, 8
March 2022
Spotted
16:34

International Women’s Day: contrived, commercialised and cynical

Companies have outdone themselves
by Kristina Murkett

Today is International Women’s Day, and once again I find myself overwhelmingly underwhelmed. International Women’s Day, a global event designed to celebrate the cultural, political and socio-economic achievements of women, has been transformed from a feminist focal point to the equivalent of a Hallmark holiday: contrived, commercialised, cynical claptrap.

At best, the nods to International Women’s Day are benign but random; for example, why did e-scooter company Tier feel the need to email this morning to reassure me that they are committed to making women ‘safer and more confident on their journeys’? I’m not sure hiring more e-scooters is the answer to that particular problem.

At worst, these PR opportunities are fundamentally hypocritical. For example, Pornhub has updated its logo with the female gender symbol in honour of the day, as if that somehow atones for the fact that they directly profit from female and child sex abuse, rape, trafficking and revenge porn. Pornhub is a fundamentally dangerous platform that fetishises humanity’s worst impulses (its new category of ‘Ukrainian girls’ being a prime example) and the thought that anyone could consider it an advocate for women’s rights is laughable.

There is something deeply embarrassing about companies competitively clambering to suddenly show off their feminist credentials. Twitter has become a pageant of PR-pruning, an endless enumeration of virtue-signalling made all the more reductive by their air of desperation. There is even a whole new Twitter account — Gender Pay Gap Bot — dedicated to revealing pay discrepancies in companies that tweet about International Women’s Day, and it is full of glib stories of companies trying to #BreakTheBias while simultaneously underpaying their female employees.

For instance, law firm Shearman and Sterling tweeted a video with ‘inspirational’ quotes from partners pledging to support women in their careers. Yet why are all these promises only from female partners? It may want to ‘spotlight’ its female members, but it is evident from just a quick glance at their website that there are far more male partners than female ones, and so the responsibility shouldn’t fall solely on their shoulders.

Women don’t need a pedestal for a single day; they need commitment to equal opportunity everyday. Perhaps my social media feed of statements of solidarity and inspirational infographics feels particularly grating because of what is happening in Ukraine. Yes, there are plenty of articles released today admiring Ukrainian women’s bravery, resilience and contributions, but the fact these are written on the 8th March doesn’t strengthen these sentiments, it undermines them. It makes the recognition tokenistic because it implies that their fortitude is only worthy of front page news because it’s International Women’s Day, when the reality is that it is brave regardless.

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Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
8 months ago

I agree with most of this article but noted the assertion that Pornhub has a new Ukrainian girls category. The substantiating link was to Julie’s article.

The Ukrainian situation is so utterly awful it doesn’t need the level of human depravity implied by such a thing.

Pornhub is easy to find. There is no such category. There is a search bar which returns results for Ukrainian as it does for Belgian, Spanish, Australian after which I couldn’t take any more.

There is more than enough to level at the human race, and men in particular if you so need, without making it up.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I made that point, as did someone else, on that article. Each comment was deleted. I’d go as far as to suggest that allegation is libellous.
I don’t care for that particular site, it’s certainly seedy, but making things up is not helping anyone’s cause.
Deleting comments pointing out factual inaccuracies with no explanation is disgraceful.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

I made a comment on the Julie thread to the effect that we’re all looking into the abyss and focussing on one identity group, however deserving, felt inappropriate. It’s never come out of moderation so was presumably banned.

I’ve been patient with this, assuming an IT glitch. I’m starting to think we’ve got an Amy Challenor moderating.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
8 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

This is how an intellectual castle in the air is built. Start with an article making a claim. No links, no evidence. Then, write another article, which builds on the claim. But you see, this new article has links and evidence… back to the original article. Now repeat, let the hyperlinks proliferate, and you have a socially constructed “fact”. Douglas Murray talks a bit about this in “The Madness of Crowds”.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes – the claim about pornhub seems to be another “this is just how depraved men are” claim. Certain authors seem to do this quite a lot. And if it’s done often enough some of it sticks.
It should have no place on Unherd. It is essentially a propaganda trick for leading the herd by its collective nose!

Marcus R
Marcus R
8 months ago

International ……….. Day. Fill in the blank. There are 14 this month alone, most of which you have probably never heard of.
https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-days-and-weeks

They are little more than marketing ploys to allow companies to signal their virtue whilst behind closed doors continue business as usual. To think otherwise is delusional.

Last edited 8 months ago by Marcus R
Tom Watson
Tom Watson
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcus R

Oh that is good. I’m going to have tremendous fun looking through that site.

miss pink
miss pink
8 months ago
Reply to  Marcus R

Yes, agree. These international days and sometimes months are just a marketing ploy. I’m old enough to remember that around this time we had the International Women’s Day of Prayer. Wonder what happened to that?

Jim R
Jim R
8 months ago

Spare a thought for the real victims in this world: outraged feminists who suddenly realize that people don’t actually agree with their social engineering nonsense but are simply going along with the narrative of the day in order to generate business or avoid social media attacks. Can we please all try a little harder to pretend?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
8 months ago

Until I see women campaigning for an “International Mens Day” I will never be able to accept that it is “equality” that is being sought.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ian Barton
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Agreed. And I resent being lumped in to some sort of grievance group in need of a pat on the head because of my sex.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 months ago

Well said. A woman after my own heart.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago

I thought every day was International Womens Day

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

Indeed!

William Shaw
William Shaw
8 months ago

Ukrainian Girls is a new category on PornHub?
I’m surprised. I’ve been receiving a Ukrainian Girls email roughly once a month for a decade or more. I’ve concluded there must be a lot of hot Ukrainian females looking for a husband… or at least a husband with more money than your typical Ukrainian man.
I would have imagined they’d be on PornHub years ago.

Last edited 8 months ago by William Shaw
Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I heard on the radio this morning that, apparently, there are two million more females than males in Ukraine. Expect plenty more emails.

David Morley
David Morley
8 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Jones

Still?

James B
James B
8 months ago

Every year, I am faced with this dilemma. My wife is Russian and the holiday there has been celebrated seriously since Soviet times. I thus congratulate the author on raising the issue. I despise International Women’s Day for the reasons she has so cogently outlined. My wife, on the other hand, does not always agree.