Op-ed: DC women’s march
My favorite thing about the Women’s March in Washington D.C. was that all of the protesters were able to be friends instantly. We knew that we were all fighting together, and our words and actions supported this sentiment.
As the Women’s March focused on inclusivity, trans people were well represented. This fits, as women are a historically oppressed gender, so the marchers had solidarity for all other oppressed genders. Due to Trump’s “Grab’em by the pussy” quote, there were a lot of vulva and uterus themed signs and chants, which at first seemed wrong to me because it excluded trans women who do not have those organs, and people who are not women but do have them. It also seemed wrong because as a cis-gendered woman, I don’t want feminism to be equated with bodies at all, especially not a specific, sexual part of it.
However, I began to notice a lot of people treating “Pussy Power” as a concept rather than taking it literally. The uterus is something that is widely debated in the world – in politics, in religion and in culture. It seems like everyone has an opinion on it. The uterus is where each of us personally came from, and it is thanks to the uterus that humanity as a whole is here today.
The protesters, therefore, used it as a symbol to represent their oppression. To represent rights that are needed, but are ignored or taken away. The pussy was used to stand for the civil liberties that all humans deserve but are unjustly regulated by politicians who do not care about the issues.
As a white woman, I must recognize my privilege and acknowledge that this became mostly a white centered women’s march. The march was great in uniting citizens against our oppressors, but now we need our actions to live up to our protest signs. This means standing up and fighting back, not just if Trump wants to grab our private parts, but also if he tries to grab anyone’s civil rights, health care, citizenship or other rights that affect people of color.
One moment from the march I will forever remember was seeing a Syrian refugee, wrapped in a Syrian flag and holding a sign that thanked the march. He stood on a hill overlooking the march, and when people passed him, they began chanting, “No hatred, no fear! Immigrants are welcome here!”
Of the many speeches I heard, Senator Kamala Harris’ stuck with me the most. Her message? All issues are women’s issues, from the economy to Black Lives Matter. And that is indeed what we marched for. We marched for those who are killed by the police due to skin color. We marched for the rights of trans people, for awareness about sexual assault in the military, for the rights of non-citizens, and the list goes on. The message we gave is that we are not some small sub-group who have a few specific issues. Every issue is our issue.
I am thinking about the chant, “We will not go away. Welcome to your first day,” because even though I have already left D.C., my actions are forever recorded and remembered. And I will keep acting; I will not go away and leave the government alone. I will be signing petitions, calling representatives and speaking out when I see anyone in danger. If you see any sort of racism, from blatant to micro-aggressive, and you are in a position to help the victim, stand up and fight back! Protect people with less privilege than you, from their gender to their race, to their age, citizen status, body or mind ability. This is our time to speak and fight back against the government.