International Women's Day is one of my favourite days of the year. It's a day that gifts us that much needed prompt when we are stalling, to remember how wonderful and important we are, how far we have come, and most importantly how far we have to go. It's a day that always births my more pensive side. I ponder whether we are really living up to our potential, whether indeed I am living up to mine, what it is that holds me back day-to-day, and what I can do to make sure I am helping pave the path to complete freedom for what is one half of our species.
I'm not afraid to admit that I have been a woman once silenced and withdrawn: by family, by men and tragically, by the doubting voices in my own head tearing finely crafted strips off my self-confidence. I am not a born warrior at all. But after 28 years of swallowing various incarnations of bullshit, my intolerance has finally evolved into a full on allergic reaction. And I don't think I am the only one.
This past year has seen women come to the forefront of the general societal conversation, which has been very exciting/scary/devastating to watch. From a woman becoming a front runner to become the next president of the United States, to Patricia Arquette's Oscars speech, to the disappearance of hundreds of girls at the hands of Boko Haram, to the heinous reports of gang rape in india, to the Isis sex slaves begging to be blown up by the Kurdish peshmerga in order to escape incessant sexual abuse, to Emma Watson's wonderful He for She campaign, to the nude leaks of only female celebrities, to the unequal pay issued even by monster conglomerate companies like Sony, to abortion STILL being illegal in the Western world, never mind the rest of the world, to the fact that in 2015 women around the world are still not allowed to be educated, to vote, or even to marry who they love.
I think it's fair to issue a hearty, "What the fuck is going on?"
How is all of this still happening? Why are we still so marinaded in injustice? How are we going backwards in so many parts of the world? Why are we still not safe? Why aren't more of us coming together to do something? I have definitely heard the words "juice fast" said more regularly than "Boko Haram" in the past 12 months. What are we doing?
And WHY, GOD, WHY do I only keep seeing celebrities with the support and attention of millions of people, out of ALL of the serious things going on, only talk about freeing their nipples? Complete with a sexy picture of them showing their nipples for attention and arousal, rather than a picture actually showing the things that are wrong with society's attitude towards female genitalia, i.e: a normal woman, breastfeeding her baby on the street. Do they not talk about the other issues because there is no sexy way to address them on Instagram?
How is it possible women taking heavily filtered selfies without make-up on went viral, and yet we are not talking about the girls locked in brothels in war zones around the world.
This is why 8 March is important. A chance to regain focus. I fully include myself in this. We can do more. We know we can. We have to. We have literacy, democracy and we have the internet. Together we have the power to turn around traditions and patterns set up by men in a time when women were unequivocally considered the lesser gender. We don't need to read weekly gossip magazines telling us who's thinner or fatter than they were last year, meanwhile brainwashing us with all of these meaningless distractions and girl on girl war. We should be arming ourselves and bettering ourselves. Educating ourselves. Pushing ourselves. I don't believe we are anywhere near our potential. And in the West, I no longer think we can just blame it on men. We are smart enough and we are powerful enough to break through all of the glass ceilings. Smash them to smithereens, and change the way at least our NEXT generation of boys looks at women.
I want to use International Women's Day as a launching pad for inspirational women, known for more than just their "AH-MAZE new hair colour." I want to bring a candid light to the things that are debilitating us as a society and I want to promote all of the power and potential that we have at our fingertips.
We need each other. More than ever before. While the smoke is much appreciated, we need a full on fire in order to make a substantial change to the billions of women being held back by the chains of tradition and lack of effect.
If Kim Kardashian's bottom alone can "break the internet", surely 3.5billion of us can make a dent.
Jameela Jamil will be guest-editing HuffPost UK Lifestyle next Sunday, 8 March to mark International Women's Day