Of the holidays that marketers hang their hats on, International Women’s Day is one of the more legitimate. The United Nations named the date and has commemorated it annually since 1975, and before that it was a holiday that American socialists observed. Around the world there are demonstrations, like in Chile, Turkey, Pakistan, and Mexico, the latter of which was met with intense violence this year as protestors marched against gender violence.
But if Monday was any indication, the swell of “fake holidays” has taken away much of the ceremony it may have ever had, in the U.S. at least. Here, it’s now mostly a holiday for posting pictures of any woman one knows, the whole world acting out that one Billy on the Street clip in real time.
It’s also (sorry socialism) a wonderful opportunity for brands to launch tentpole ads, and thus sometimes, to step all the way in it, as Burger King did with its “Women belong in the kitchen” tweet, a high-concept advertorial for the U.K. market that turned out to be quite popular with the men’s-rights crowd. (The hamburger shop has pulled the ad.)
But once in a while, there’s a true gem of a statement about women, generally from a man, usually a “wife guy,” to use an old internet phrase, and that is the reason we keep it around, celebrate it, believe in its original purpose to honor “women” in the “Saoirse Ronan saying ‘women‘” sense of the word.
To wit, Justin Bieber! “I know i have been naive and haven’t been empathetic toward women in the past and have overlooked their struggles,” he captioned an illustration of anonymous women in a post on Instagram. “I am learning everyday beside my wife as I see all of the struggles she faces that i will never have to face.”
“I am committed to being better and more aware of the struggles women face that men never will!!” he continued. “Women you are superhero’s [sic] and deserve to be celebrated today and everyday.”
Listen, I’m still curious about what women’s struggles he is referring to, and what exactly Hailey Bieber has taught him, but maybe we just know that he knows that women have issues…some that maybe he doesn’t have…though he has his own…but these issues are different and pertain to…a sex and gender not his own. What more can you ask from this kind of holiday over here?
More Great Stories From Vanity Fair
— Why Kensington Palace Just Can’t Let Go of Meghan Markle
— On With the Show! See the 2021 Hollywood Portfolio
— In Conversation: Roxane Gay and Monica Lewinsky on Trauma
— Reply All’s Implosion Reveals the Limits of One-Sided Internet Relationships
— Harry and Meghan Have “No Regrets” as Royal Exit Becomes Official
— Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen on Their Friendship’s Origins
— Proust Questionnaire: Watch Michael B. Jordan Answer Personality-Revealing Questions
— Can This Photographer Save Beirut’s Architectural Treasures?
— Seven Fashion Brands to Shop for a Fresh Start This Spring
— From the Archive: How Tobacco Heiress Doris Duke Got Away With Murder
— Not a subscriber? Join Vanity Fair to receive full access to VF.com and the complete online archive now.