It was International Women’s Day on Sunday. I had plans to win the PokerStars $9 Million Guaranteed Sunday Million and the event was moved so not to clash with a day Stars said: ‘is a very big deal.’
Had it not been for PokerStars pulling the event, I wouldn’t have been any the wiser. I am 40-years old and I didn’t even know we celebrated women on this day.
The event will instead be held on Sunday 15 March. In the UK that date is Mothering Sunday. Now this is a date that I recognize as special for women. I am a son, and a father, so I understand the importance of this day for two different reasons.
Actually, that’s a lie.
I haven’t always recognized it as special.
My mother always told me that it was a waste of time. That it’s just another gimmick designed to pour money from your bank accounts to various difference materialistic corporations.
I feel the same way about birthdays, Father’s Day, Easter and have mixed feelings about Christmas.
But I’m changing.
I guess the thing to learn about this whole Sunday Million thing is there are many different views, practices and beliefs. I have been guilty of ignorance on this score. I talk to a few female poker players and ask them if sexism exists in the industry, they tell me it doesn’t, and then I apply that thinking to the rest of the world.
I read about it on 2+2.
Someone writes an article about sexism, double standards, feminism, etc., and the thread explodes. Men get very angry with the assertion that females are treated any differently in modern life, even females get angry at the possibility that anyone could believe they don’t have power.
The individual man, or woman, is not as educated as they think. But education is out there. I feel like change is happening, but it’s slow – almost imperceptible
Take poker for example.
It gives females the power to get down to their undies, lay across poker tables and be airbrushed to perfection. To some that is a demonstration of power, control and a way to promote the power of the female form to the world outside of the game.
Then you have those that concentrate on skill. They keep their clothes on. They work hard, and use their triumphs as a way to promote the power of the female form to the world outside of the game.
There is always a different view.
It’s what makes the world an interesting place.
Vanessa Selbst has recently appeared in Advocate.com. It’s a great advert for women, not just in poker, but in any sort of environment that is heavily populated my men.
“I know a lot of women are intimidated to talk to groups of all men about strategy out of fear of judgment. In my experience, the women who have put themselves out there have been the most successful.” Selbst said in her interview.
At the same time I picked up another mainstream article about poker. It was from CrainsNewYork.com and carried the title ‘Casino Pro Offers Poker Advice for Women.’
“Let your hair down, don’t wear glasses, and show cleavage.”
Those were the pearls of wisdom that Wendy Rubin (the focus of the piece) handed to women who wanted to play poker.
Like I said, there are a lot of different views on how the world works.
I am starting to think that a lot of men, and women, can’t see what’s right beneath their own nose. They argue that the world is ok, that everyone is treated equally, and that small little male jockeys should only ride high horses.
Take my Mother for example.
In a few weeks time she will be 60-years of age. She has devoted her entire life to her husband and children. From the moment she gave birth to me, all alone and just 18-years of age, I get the feeling that she has been isolated, unloved, and uncared for.
Her husband is a typical Northern working class man in his 60s. His view on life is to get his head down and work as hard as he can so there is food on the table and a roof over everybody’s head. There are no kisses, no hugs, and no messages of love.
My Mum has had four kids. As far as I can tell, all we have done is take. We don’t give much back. These days she is stuck in front of a TV screen. Her life has long passed her by. She has no confidence. She has no belief. What kind of a life is that?
To the outside world there is nothing wrong. She wears the brave face. She hides tears. She gives off that impression of strength. She does all of this whilst making people food, cleaning up their shit, and listening as they talk about their own self importance (or in the case of my Dad – silence).
And people believe there is not a divide between men and women?
I recently watched a Netflix documentary called Girl Rising. It was a tale of nine different girls from around the world who could not get an education. I was blown away. I hated school. I couldn’t wait for it to end. It was like a death sentence. Then I watched as nine children were abused and treated like animals. All they wanted was to go to school. The boys went instead.
I took a train to London the other day and I helped a lady with her luggage. We got talking and she told me she was a volunteer for Soroptimist International. It’s an organization that helps transform the lives of women and girls who need help in finding that equal voice. I took down her number and when she returns from her travels she will have another member.
Will I forget Women’s International Day next year?
I need PokerStars to help me out by organizing an event and then canceling it again.
But I don’t need a specific day to love and honor women. I can do that everyday. I can tell my wife how much I adore her, I can tell my sisters how smart they are, and I can remind my Mum that life doesn’t end when you are 60-years old – it’s only the beginning. There is a powerful, woman hiding away underneath that skin. As there is within hundreds of thousands of women who want to play poker, but feel intimidated by tables full of men.
I aim to help those women find that power.
In anyway I can.
I hope that you join me.