I’m in a foul mood right now, and usually, when I feel like this I want to get in someone’s face. Here’s the topic of the moment that I need to get off my chest…For the past year, and increasingly during the past week, I’ve skimmed past negative messages I read or see about the women’s marches. People are saying things that imply that women on these demonstrations “are protesting for rights they already have” or “they need to toughen up” or “work harder, that’s how you get what you want” or “man-haters” or whatever they have to say.
Well, here’s what I have to say. The women’s marches are, first of all, an act of democracy where if enough people have something to say and they want to make their point loudly, they gather together to do so. We are lucky to live in a country where we can do such a thing. The women’s marches have taken place all over the world, and have all been peaceful with no violence or arrests. This year, the march I attended was almost half men. And you know what? I wanted to sleep in that day….it was cold, and I felt lazy…my husband made me get up and go and take our daughters.
Rights we already have? Yes, but so many of the older women there did NOT have those rights when they were your age, they had to fight for them, many died fighting for the rights you’re taking for granted today. They know what it looks, feels and smells like when those rights seem threatened again….they can feel it under their skin. They’re out there to make SURE you never lose those rights. They’re not only fighting for yours, but for every person who feels threatened. If this doesn’t resonate with you at all, then don’t march, don’t look, don’t waste your energy on it. But for God’s sake, don’t criticize those who feel the need to make their voices heard. Are they out there hurting you somehow?
Toughen up? I grew up surrounded by boys, older brothers who weren’t always nice to me and we would fight, and a father who was an alcoholic. I was a latch-key kid, home without supervision until my mom got home from a hard days work, only to come home and work until midnight when my dad would stroll on in from the bar and start a fight. I grew up with so much anger inside and a fierce sense of justice, and would fist-fight boys when they bullied others. I’m not proud of this violence I committed, but it’s probably the only reason people didn’t mess with me. (It all does come in handy now when my family tries wrestling me down on the living room floor 😉 )
Work hard to get what you want? I’m the first person in my family to go to a university, graduate, and go back for a Master’s degree. I have had to work hard every single day for every single thing I ever got. Not only does it piss me off if you say we need to work harder, but it makes me sad for your ignorance.
Man hater? I love men. I love men, and I love boys. I have the luxury (or perhaps by design) to be surrounded by amazing men and boys. I suppose if they weren’t, I already cut them out of my life. Every day I’m thankful for my amazingly supportive husband, and I’ve spent a lot of time in my career with really incredible teenage boys and young men who want to make this a better world. I have awesome male friends of all types. I’m so thankful for the men in my life…I love you guys.
My point with all of the above is partly to tell some of my story, in the hope that you will see I am not who you think I am, just because I attend women’s marches. It’s also to say hey- look at me – I am white, middle class, educated, heterosexual, married, able-bodied, insured, live in a safe town, …so why do I need to march? And what were these marches all about if women already have rights? It would be a really long story to give you all the reasons, but I’ll tell you a few main ideas.
I have daughters. I have one that is good at math and science. When she was in 3rd grade, some boys in the class told her girls can’t do the math. Since then, she’s pretty much gotten 100% on every math test she’s ever taken, so she found her own way to kick their ass. (Unfortunately, when I was her age, I listened to those boys.) My older daughter was told girls couldn’t ride motorcycles. Well, she can spin mud in their faces with her back tire now. Pretty much every day, my girls get some message that they aren’t as good as or as strong as boys – messages from boys, from men, from media, from girls, women, society.
I march for them, and they march for themselves, not because this is about their RIGHTS but because of what IS RIGHT and what they deserve, and we STILL feel the need to voice that. Girls today STILL and always must be taught to stand up for themselves, and be shown there are millions of women (and men) standing beside them. I march for my mom, who wasn’t a fighter before but is now. I march for my mother-in-law, who can’t march now, but was an attorney who put away a LOT of child abusers in her career. Their generation paved the way for mine, and when they get concerned by things being seen and heard today, then something’s up, and it’s time to get out the marching boots to make sure we don’t go backward.
How about Larry Nassar, Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein and all the other ones including the non-famous ones? How many missing women and girl posts do I have to see every day? Where are they? How many girls and boys and women need to be abused, raped, harassed, assaulted, molested, trafficked for you to understand that once a year we might just gather together with our sisters and say WE ARE STRONG and we won’t let this happen anymore? If you don’t think this is an issue, then you’re damn lucky….as in, won the lottery lucky.
Have you looked at the photos of our Presidents since the “birth” of the USA? Just take a quick glance. While you’re at it, take a look at the beautiful photos of our founding fathers that hang in museums. Take a look at the photos of our US Senate and House of Representatives right now. I’m not criticizing, just wondering does anything strike you? Again, I have daughters, so I notice things. These marches aren’t to blame men for always being the leaders; they’re to get WOMEN to step up if they WANT TO, to feel EMPOWERED to run for office and make positive changes. I want to see more women in ALL types of leadership positions….CEO’s, government, engineering, movie producers and directors, talk show hosts, racecar drivers, everywhere, and while we’re at it, let’s have them be ALL colors and types of people! I don’t want them to “steal these jobs” or take from men; I just want them to GO FOR IT if they want it! Be strong and take those big opportunities and go out there and offer our world more of a balance. And if you’re home taking care of loved ones and your household, whether you’re a man or woman, THAT TOO is a noble profession, and I thank you for it!!
I also marched for some women I know, who today cannot march. Some are sick, some have passed away, some are in abusive relationships, some don’t feel empowered, some were unsure or scared, some just don’t know, and some aren’t even born yet.
Yes, women have rights. What if you’re a transgender woman? A Muslim woman? An uninsured woman? A woman of color? An immigrant? What if you’re gay? Come to think of it, what if you’re a man and you’re one of those things? I marched for you, too. I marched for you because I’m tired of you being blamed.
That’s the story on my end that I felt I needed to tell just because I’m pissed off. So I would love it if anyone who wants to criticize, demean, scold, or ridicule anyone for peacefully exercising our democratic rights would simply shut it. Ignore it and be on your way. Or try to listen and learn. Ask why, instead of telling us how ridiculous we are as you roll your eyes.
As I sit here and decide to delete or keep this – the owls are outside again, and it sounds like there are at least 3 of them this time. They’re only out there if something is eating at me and I start writing; I guess it’s my sign to publish.
Love & peace to all (it’s not just for hippies anymore.)
Let it, Ripple…