When they go low….
That famous quote from Michelle Obama has become a mantra for myself and many other people following the Women’s March on Washington and its Sister Marches. While much of the world (including us) was in awe of the organization and passion it took to bring this march to life, almost immediately the event came under attack. We were a bunch of cry babies who can’t accept Trump’s presidency. The march was a one and done event with no real impact. Probably the most hurtful (to me), women are in a better position now than we ever have been. We should simmer down and be grateful.
I want to scream FUCK OFF. I also want to reason, especially with the women saying these things, because I find it unfathomable that another woman could see the March as anything less than a beautiful demonstration of the power of women when they come together. It is so baffling and frustrating, it makes me want to seethe. When I seethe, I know I am playing right into that angry feminist stereotype. I am not a stereotype, but I am angry.
First and foremost is this notion that women should be quiet and be grateful for the current position. I have no doubt I am better off than the women of 50, 100 years ago. I also have no doubt I am in that position because of a lot of angry feminists. Our society has proven over and over again that equality isn’t just handed over nicely like a present on Christmas. It is fought for. Yes, I am grateful that I can vote, and speak my mind, and have the opportunity to work or to have children or to do both. I am thankful that I have sexual harassment laws to protect me. I am free to own property if I wish. I can marry a man or a woman, or not. Women have fought hard to make these things so.
But telling me to be grateful is like telling an African American person “Hey, we gave you voting rights. Be grateful and don’t worry about that segregation thing.” We will continue to fight for equal rights. I will not sit idly by and be grateful that I almost make as much money as a man. I will fight to receive equal pay for equal work- because that makes sense!
One “friend” posted via social media some nonsense about how all us marchers were pissed we wouldn’t be getting our free birth control anymore. For the record, I have always paid for birth control. I am thankful that I had access to affordable birth control so that I was able to plan a family when I was ready for one. I got this birth control from a clinic that performs abortions, but also provides family planning. I never had to have an abortion because I had access to affordable birth control. See how that works? It makes zero sense to try to limit access to abortions AND take away access to affordable birth control. And for the record, women should have control over their own bodies and decisions.
Now let’s get down to the accusation that we are a bunch of cry babies who can’t accept a Trump presidency. This March was about more than Trump. Yes, there were tons of people there fired up about his election, and I don’t blame them. But the wage gap goes back further than Trump. Issues with the electoral college go back further than Trump. Women being trafficked goes back further than Trump. The fact that women are more likely to live in poverty goes back further than Trump. Issue after issue. Trump’s election was an igniting point, a last straw for us to wake up, get organized and take action.
On that note, for all the nay sayers calling the March a one and done event, I ask you- do we build momentum by encouraging or belittling? You can write us off, scoff at us- or you can boost us up to keep going. The momentum is there. Every woman I know came out of that march so charged, ready to keep going. Help us. Lift us up. Become part of the movement instead of saying “It’s great but too little too late” or “Yeah, it’s cool to hold a sign but what about doing something that actually helps.” Great- HELP us do something that actually HELPS. I’m willing to put up. Are you?
I’m sorry- I know this post is disorganized and all over the place and ranting, ranting, RANTING. But I just had to get some of this out.
Fellow marchers. Keep your head up. I know this negativity is frustrating. Especially after such a profoundly beautiful experience. But this is just the beginning. Keep writing those postcards. Keep making those phone calls. Keep talking. Because we’re not just doing this for selfish reasons, or for women- we’re working for a better world for everyone. Women’s rights ARE human rights.
Keep after it girls. Keep your chins up. They go low, we go high.
Also, quit looking at social media for a day or two. And the news. We need at least a day or two for sanity’s sake.