Let me cut to it — I love recognising women, and will always do so, so if one is expecting a vaguely sexist rant of the alt-right, or Joe Biden variety…no. Just no.
This will be coming out a day after the event because there are too many men talking about it, and I am not in a power position to change the world extensively, so it is best that I stay quiet on the day itself.
I want to talk about three women. Eveline MacLaren, Xena, and my mother are important figures in my life. Two progressive for the times, and only one fictional.
Eveline MacLaren was one of the first women to gain a bachelor of law in Scotland. She was born in Edinburgh — I can hear my Glaswegian friends groan —, and came from a soliciting family. That is about all I know about her, truthfully. I could do more research — and will —, but I want to take a moment to respect her as I know her.
The idea of being a woman in the 1800s scares me. I enjoy being a man, and I, frankly, am attached to all that means to me, and the line of great men who came before. So, being tied to the intensity of the Victorian, and Edwardian ages (MacLaren would graduate in 1909) whilst also balancing the structures that women had, MacLaren had to be a stronger person than I have ever met. I wonder if I, or any of my female friends, or any of my male friends could ever have that much strength. Yes, she was from an affluent family — as far as I can tell —, so the pressures on her would not be the same as one of my socioeconomic background, but still, when I face barriers, I honestly think of MacLaren. I adore that strength so much that I named a character after her, truly. So, I raise a glass to her.
Xena. A complex character 20 years after she went off the air. The short of it is that Xena is one of the main reason I am a feminist. She showed me — especially before the Christianisation arcs — that an indigenous character (yes, I know that Lucy Lawless is not Grecian; hence, character) could exist in some form of indigenous religion. She was strong in herself. Physically stronger than most, and mentally herself rang true to little 9-year-old-faglette me. It is because of a fictional character that I know of Buddug, MacLaren, Brynhildr, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor of Aquitaine (don’t get me started on this goddess), Kate Chopin, and the list goes on. Even now, as I grow up to realise the holes in my education, I am introduced to women of different nationalities, and indigenous nations who remind me the strength that humans have. This is all because of a tv show. I raise a glass to her.
Now, my mother. She, and I have a complex relationship. She is a Trump-supporter; I am gay, and Heathen. There is a bit of a disconnect. She reminds me that I am not duty-bound to like everyone, but that I am duty-bound to respect everyone. She will always be the basis of my connection to women. I raise a glass to her.
Now, I have honoured the women whom I usually do this time of year. I shall retreat back to the writing corner to finish a project which is unfolding…as nicely as it can.