I fully intended on coming home from Yakima’s Women’s March today and blogging about it. I wanted to tell you about how phenomenal and life-changing the experience was and I just wanted to reflect.
I will do that, I promise, but I cannot do that before I address what I have seen today.
In the past couple of months I have done my best to stay off Facebook. I’m actually physically on Facebook all day for my job, I’m posting stories and making sure I’m available if readers want to chat, but I very rarely scroll through my actual feed.
Want to know why? There has been SO much hate from the people I love, the people I call family and friends surrounding this election. I don’t want to feel negativity toward them, so I’ve just been choosing to stay off Facebook for the most part so I don’t even have to know who feels what way about what. I can just stay in my bubble and not have to deal with it.
However, after today’s Women’s March I got on Facebook because I wanted to see pictures from my friends marching all over the world. I definitely got to see that and I am so proud to have been able to stand with those women today, but you know what else I saw?
Hate. Hate from other women.
The number of times I saw words with awful connotations like “whining” or “complaining” or people telling women to “sit down and stop pretending you’re oppressed.” Honestly? It’s devastating.
It’s devastating because not only is it unnecessary but it’s from people I love and people I trust who are telling me that my peaceful marching was whining.
So, I would like to explain to you why I am marching.
I personally believe, and you can agree or disagree, that women are often looked at as inferior. Such a belief is shown by the way women are talked about by men. From a young age, girls are taught to live in fear because that’s just the way things are. Girls have to come in when it gets dark outside but boys are allowed to play long after it’s dark. Girls are taught to be ladylike: to cross their legs and be quiet and happy. They’re taught to embrace the arts and the liberal arts, that there’s no room for them in STEM fields. Then as we get older we’re taught that we have to dress a certain way because that’s modest and we don’t want anyone to get any wrong ideas. We’re told in school to cover our shoulders and not wear tighter pants like leggings because it may distract the boys from learning. We’re told in college that it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re not sexually assaulted. The number of women who report assaults and are told some version of they were asking for it is appalling. As a woman, I feel like I am constantly having to prove my worth and my intelligence to men outside of my sexuality or my ability to raise a child or the more “traditional gender roles.” While I am not saying this is how it is everywhere with everyone, it is a common theme.
You are absolutely free to agree or disagree with me.
All of these explanations seem to beg the question: what is marching going to do about any of it?
Well, hopefully it sends a message to future generations that you can stand up for something you believe in and it’s not crazy. Hopefully joining together multiple times sends a message so that when my niece grows up, she doesn’t have to hear things like “grab her in the pussy” that just gets dismissed. Hopefully, by the time my niece is my age she’s not one of the one in four woman who will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Hopefully, standing up creates a different world.
This act of protest isn’t political. It doesn’t show a bias and it doesn’t say what political party I am or am not, it simply says that I, as a woman, feel that I shouldn’t have to be worried to go outside at night because something horrible may happen to me. It says that I, as a woman, feel that I should be able to make whatever decisions for my body on my own, without the help of a man who has no idea who I am or what I need whatever it is I’m deciding on for. It says that I, as a woman, take a stand because I know I am just as valuable as any man out there.
Then I hear the argument that there are women out there that are suffering even greater than I am.
I realize that. I’m actually pretty darn intelligent and I know about current events.
However, let me ask you something…
If this great nation, the one that’s supposed to symbolize freedom and the “American Dream” can’t even make its women feel safe and valued, how is it supposed to help the women in other countries?
If your child had a stomach bug, would you let him or her suffer simply because there are children out there with cancer?
In my experience, I don’t think so. I think you would do everything you could to save your child from feeling any pain at all.
So, all this to say, you are entitled to your opinion and, honestly, the free flow of information and opinions is one of my favorite parts of democracy. However, you shouldn’t use rude and negative words to characterize my opinion simply because it doesn’t align with yours.