Here’s What Autostraddle Is Doing For the Women’s Strike: A Roundtable and Stuff

The senior editors were conflicted about participating in the Day Without A Woman, as women who work to support and are in turn supported by a community of women and nonbinary people. Because we’ve had to largely create our own economy internal to our community, dependent upon reader donations and A+ subscriptions, those of us who work full-time for Autostraddle can’t effectively strike from the larger economy, and withdrawing our labor from the other women and nonbinary people who are in practice our employers doesn’t accomplish the same ends as striking from the general economy. At the same time, we recognize that because of the uniqueness of our jobs, we’re able to strike without repercussions when many are not, and that we’re able to take advantage of a public platform that most don’t have; we want to use these opportunities to demonstrate solidarity with others who are dependent upon the general economy, both those who are striking today and those who can’t or are choosing not to (including our own writers and employees, many of whom have day jobs or other situations they can’t strike from). We support a strike that calls for recognition of women’s value and the necessity of the many forms of their labor; we also support all those who are already struggling economically and otherwise, who are deeply impacted by the administration and the systems we’re protesting, and who because of that can’t afford to risk financial instability or job loss for themselves and their families.

We’re also in a unique position in regards to the suggested action from Day Without A Woman organizers for women to take the day off from both paid and unpaid labor, including household work and emotional labor. Although we understand the roots and messaging of this action, its implications for queer communities and communities or families of women are vastly different than they are in a straight community, where it seems to be implied that part of the effectiveness of the action is that men will be forced to pick up the slack. A community, family, or relationship comprising entirely of women where no one is performing any unpaid or emotional labor isn’t a healthy one. Especially in a time of dangerous political and cultural crisis and when so many members of our communities are in danger, we’re more inclined to redouble our efforts toward laboring for our community and loved ones in a variety of ways, pursuing ever more equitable and sustainable emotional labor rather than striking from it.

Since the 1970s, queer people have organized and participated in strikes and actions within labor movements. With the advent of the gay liberation movement, people started coming out at work and to their labor unions, however because of rampant homophobia many were still forced to stay in the closet. In the late 70s, gay and lesbian activism merged with labor movements to create gay-labor alliances that led to effective boycotts. For example, activists in San Francisco, including Howard Wallace, boycotted Coors beer because the company had anti-union and anti-gay policies. The start of that boycott eventually led to the formation of Lesbian / Gay Labor Alliance of San Francisco in 1983. At the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, queer workers were at the forefront of simultaneously advocating for workers to unionize at AIDS clinics while also fighting discrimination at work and in the labor movement against people with HIV and AIDS. In the 1990s, LGBT caucuses, like Pride at Work, saw more support from trade unions, “representing an increased acceptance as well as solidarity in the labor movement for queer people and queer issues.” Unions mostly worked to advance queer issues through collective bargaining by adding sexual orientation to anti-discrimination clauses, including domestic partner benefits and supporting trans-inclusive health benefits. General strikes and mass protests focused specifically on women or other marginalized demographics, often with grassroots organizing and support, also have a long history. A very incomplete list would include the US’s Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970, Iceland’s Women’s Day Off in 1975, in which 90% of the country’s women went on strike, and 1997’s Million Woman March in Philadelphia for Black women. In 2008, opponents of Prop 8 called for a Day Without a Gay to protest its passage, although its participation was limited.

One action that women and allies can take today is directing their money and support toward independent women-owned businesses, of which we are one! Today would be a great day to become an A+ member, make a one-time donation, or buy our merch.

A collage of the ten staff members (and one partner of a staff member) wearing red in solidarity with the Day Without A Woman.

Top row, L to R: Erin, Yvonne, Alaina, Carrie, Ali Bottom Row, L to R: Mey, Riese, Heather and Stacy, Laura, Rachel


Alaina, Staff Writer

I am not a woman, but I am deeply and passionately in love with all women everywhere, so figuring out how it’s best for me to strike has been tricky. I’m definitely going to work — I intern at a LGBTQ and women’s center that the state has attempted to close 10 times in 12 years, and the folks we serve there need that space. I’m also in class from 9-5 with no break that day, and unless my professors decide to strike, I’m going. I mean, I also pretty exclusively engage with woman-centered and woman-owned media, so I think I’ll just keep that up for tomorrow and always. I’m going to encourage my mom to go on strike at home. She cooks for two fully grown men almost every day and I mean, it’s her choice, but like, she deserves a break more than anyone I know.

Ali, Tech/Geekery Editor

Originally, I wanted to do nothing but read on March 8th. Read, and head to the protest at Washington Square Park. But then I realized I’m leaving for a trip on the 9th. Okay, I thought, I guess I’ll do only the work that gets me going on my trip. And then I’ll read and go to the protest and all that. Except then a whole bunch of stuff came up that’s really good for my career—the ability to plan and pitch a class with someone from Parsons, the ability to apply for a grant for an organization I’m on the board of. So then I was like, okay, since education is the drum I beat anyway, I’ll do only the work that gets me going on my trip, the work directly affecting the education of our future, and then I’ll read and protest lalala. And then I realized I still had to make a queer your tech happen. And edit our Saturday Morning Cartoons. And that even if I asked for an extension (which would certainly be granted), I’d then be doing work on my trip. Which is, like, the same as doing it at half speed and half quality. And I don’t want that. So I think, after much deliberation, that I’m going to just not buy anything tomorrow and go to the protest, but work the rest of the day as normal. If any men in my life want to send me an Edible Arrangement, that’s cool, because I don’t know when I’m going to cook anything. I have too much shit to to do.

Audrey, Staff Writer

I am thankful that International Women’s Day falls on a Wednesday, because that is the day I teach an ESOL class to a group that is primarily women from Mexico. It is a privilege to work with these awesome women, who are surviving and thriving in Dallas despite many barriers to access and success. Not to mention, el Día Internacional de la Mujer is a big deal in Mexico and Central America, so it feels meaningful to be with them today. ¡Que viva la mujer!

Bren, Editorial Assistant

I will be wearing red in solidarity, but I won’t be taking off work. I very possibly will be quitting this job soon and I can’t do anything that might jeopardize a good recommendation. BUT I will not be taking off class participation points for students who choose to be out striking their hearts out.

Carolyn, NSFW and Literary Editor

I work primarily with women for primarily women-owned or -run businesses, including for myself. I can’t afford the time it takes to take a day off in the middle of a busy week, so I’m not taking today day off. I also don’t own red clothing. I do feel committed to not taking shit from men in all areas of my life, today and every day.

Carrie, Staff Writer

I can’t take the day off because my boss (who is also a woman) isn’t going to be here and I gotta hold down the fort. Does coming in to cover for other women count toward our cause? Also, I work in a library and I think it’s important that libraries remain open every waking hour because knowledge is our only reliable path out of this political circus. GO TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY, READ A BOOK, SAVE THE WORLD.

I participated in the February 17 General Strike and went to a rally, which I would recommend if you’re striking today and there’s one in your area. At this point if I don’t do at least one in-person resistance thing every week I feel like I’ve missed the boat; if out-in-the-world activism is your thing, rallies are one way to check that box. It’s invigorating to be surrounded by like-minded folks. Whether or not you can strike today, I’d suggest finding that communal feeling somewhere — even if it’s at, or after, work.

Crystal, HR Director

I won’t be participating in the strike. I’m about to lose my day job and I don’t have anything else lined up, so I’m not really in a position to turn down paid work right now. I figure I’ll have plenty of time for the resistance once I’m unemployed.

Erin, Staff Writer

This strike and its suggested calls to action are tricky for me for a few reasons. First of all, every single one of my employers are women. What a concept, right? I think it’s why I’m able to maintain a steady if not concerning resting heart rate of 46 beats per minute in these trying times. But me not working and not meeting deadlines doesn’t necessarily help the cause for women, and so I don’t want to do that.

Then we get into this idea of unpaid labor, which I’m assuming is referring to emotional labor and things like making meals for your husband and doing his gross laundry, and as a gay woman, this means nothing to me. The only men in my life are my dad and my brother, whom I’m just not going to be mean to so don’t ask me to, and my friend Mitch, and it’s like, what am I going to do, not talk to Mitch? I love Mitch!

So then we’re left with not shopping, which I don’t really do, and wearing red, which is not my color. What’s a woman to do? I think I’ll direct my emotional labor instead to the women in my life to thank and encourage them. Xo, big kiss.

Laura, Staff Writer

As I understand it, the desired impact of taking the day off of work is to make your employer think about how their policies negatively impact women. I actually think my employer is doing a good job on this front, so I’m going to write thank you letters that explain why I’m not striking (including that we have a recruiter who is actively locating women engineers and bringing them into the company; I’ve had productive discussions with men in my department about specific practices to make sure our interviews aren’t biased in favor of white men; I have evidence that I am receiving equal pay for equal work; and my department’s technical roles are filled by men and women equally) and point out a couple areas where I see room for improvement.

Also I’ll wear red and call my representatives that day. We need better parental leave policies in this country, but I think that conversation needs to happen more at the state and federal level rather than with individual employers. (I mean, we can do both. But the lasting impact is going to come from legal protection.)

Mey, Trans Editor

I’m a woman, and I’m not sure if there’s anything I more strongly or proudly identify as. I’m not going to be directly participating in the thing today, but I will always always always stand in solidarity with my sisters. My trans sisters, cis sisters, Black sisters, Latina sisters, Asian sisters, disabled sisters, sex worker sisters, poor sisters, gay sisters, bisexual sisters, jewish sisters, Muslim sisters, undocumented sisters, all of them are my people and I’d proudly stand with them any day of the week.

Heather, Senior Editor

I am almost never not working, so — if I’m being honest — despite the fact that Autostraddle won’t be posting content or pushing out social media today, I’ll be working as much as I always do behind the curtain. Because of the thing that drives me every day, even when there’s no strike, and that thing is you. Our readers. All I want is to make the world safer and brighter and warmer for you, and to amplify the voices of the brilliant queer and trans women and nonbinary folks who count on Autostraddle as a platform to spread their light into the world. There are no men in my life that rely on me for anything ever, except for my nephew, so obviously I will be answering his texts about Stardew Valley. Everything else will be about women as it always is. I do plan to knock off early to go to the rally and march in Washington Square this afternoon/evening and protest in solidarity with women around the world.

Laneia, Executive Editor

I have a dentist appointment this morning and I’m torn between hoping that the women in the office don’t strike (because I really want my crown put on) and hoping that they do (because SOLIDARITY, MOTHERFUCKERS). Either way, my wife won’t be going to her job and I’ll spend a good chunk of time reading up on how to better serve this community that I love so damn much. I struggled with the idea of withholding unpaid labor from my two male children because that unpaid labor is pretty simply defined as “trying to raise two feminist anti-racist men who’ll want to make the world better for marginalized people” and I don’t want to take a day off from that. I finally decided that a better use of my time would be making sure they understand that a strike is happening and why, and then having them help us make dinner, since knowing how to cook meals from scratch is an important skill. Tortellini solidarity soup!

Yvonne, Senior Editor

My work centers and uplifts queer and trans women and non-binary folks daily and it was difficult for me to figure out where my role fits in with a “Day Without A Woman.” But my partner had to remind me that my participation in this strike is just as necessary and important even if I do serve queer women. She reminded me that this is about me too! I’m making a statement that I matter, that I’m part of this movement and not just part of the media that covers queer and feminist news. And it means I stand in solidarity with our writers and readers who are and aren’t able to strike today. I’ll go about my day as usual —without any interactions with men — and probably talk to only my partner and my fellow badass co-workers so we can plot together on how to make this place even more wonderful for you, the readers.

Rachel, Managing Editor

Like the other senior editors, taking a day off from all my work at Autostraddle seems both counterproductive in terms of the movement and baffling to me personally — what would I do all day besides work?? But because we aren’t on our usual publication schedule for the day, I’ll take the time to devote to bigger-picture planning than the frenetic pace of a usual workday allows, and do some longer-term groundwork on our political and social justice coverage. In my personal life, I’ll spend time looking at my budget and setting aside money to redistribute to supporting other progressive feminist publications and directly financially supporting marginalized women and nonbinary people; in the evening, I’m reading my work at a women-organized event for International Women’s Day. As one of the only people even remotely associated with Autostraddle whose life does include a man, my husband, we’ve talked about how he can support the strike by taking on household labor for the day and actively examining the division of emotional labor in the household and stepping up in that regard where he needs to.

Riese, Editor-in-Chief

Like the rest of the Senior Editors, striking feels like a weird thing to do because of the nature of our work, and also because I love my work and taking a day off from it entirely feels counterproductive to everything I care about and believe in. I’ll be spending the day finishing “Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair” by Sarah Schulman, a book which has already changed my life and could change yours too. This book is helping me do what will be my main project for the day, which is working on a document that lays out new standards for community-building and discourse for Autostraddle’s writers and readers. The current political climate has elevated our anxieties to untenable levels, and we can no longer afford to simply shun or pile-on people who “don’t get it.” I believe everything about how we communicate online (which carries over into real-life spaces like A-Camp) needs to be re-evaluated and re-framed, including our ascription to unilateral “rules” of feminism/social justice that enable us to dehumanize instead of problem-solve. So that’s what I’m thinking about today, that’s what I’m doing today. But also it’s really windy and I think my house might blow away? A UPS truck just pulled into the driveway and I asked what it was and Erin said, “it’s a woman. We all get one today. It’s women’s day.” So that’s exciting!

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17 Comments

  1. Thanks everyone for sharing! Also, yes to everything Carrie said about libraries! I’m a public librarian in a small town, and I did come to work today because I feel that public libraries are at the forefront of the battle against misinformation that we’re waging in our country today. Visit your local library today! Get a card! Check something out and boost our stats! :)

  2. From what I have read for journalists the strike presents some challenges. I was reading an article earlier that was talking about the strike and journalism. The example was for some sites, like Jezebel, the silence will be visible, but only for it’s readership base, which is women. For other site, like the one the author is writing for, it just brings back the status quo for the day, with some readers not noticing it. http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/8/14821154/day-without-a-woman-media-journalism-strike

    So, thank you for all the writers on this site, you all are just awesome!

  3. Thank you all for your work, Autostraddle! I enjoyed reading your different opinions on the “Day Without a Woman” strike. I work in an office where 5 out of 7 of us are women, and if we all left, things would kind of fall apart. I also work in a political job, and I feel like if all the women weren’t here making their voices heard, things would fall apart and also go backwards.

  4. International Women’s Day has never received much notice in the US, and certainly not in the Midwest. I think that anything with the label “International” is automatically filed in the “doesn’t matter to me, I am in the US” bin by 98% of USAans. Holding a rally on the weekend is one thing, demanding a strike is just not practical for most people in the regressive parts of the country where protesters are seen as trash and where there are no protections for any employee, let alone low-ranked employees, who are the ones who actually make the day-to-day operations work.

    A whole lot of organizing expertise has been lost when the unions started to shrivel.

  5. Riese, will you consider doing Read A F*cking Book Review of Schulman’s “Conflict Is Not Abuse”? I haven’t read it yet, but will shortly after the shit storm of PhD milestones I’ll accomplish in April/May and would love something to put my thoughts into conversation with! puhleeeeeease

  6. I did not strike yesterday, because I work in child care and not showing up would have made my female co-teacher’s and boss’s day harder. I wore red in solidarity and went to an adoption info meeting, the first step in getting licensed as a foster parent. I read a great article a out the strike from a child care researchers perspective:

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_58bee528e4b033be1468d18d?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&section=politics

  7. Can someone explain the red to me? I’m all in favour if it’s because of socialism but I told my mum I didn’t get it and she gave me a TERF reason. I didn’t even know about it til I text my on-off to wish her happy woman’s day and she asked if I was wearing red cos her sister told her to.
    My old tutor used to give us all chocolates on woman’s day. That was nineteen women and a feminist man (I think she didn’t want him to miss out). So I always associate women’s day with chocolates.

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