Two Feminists, Two Perspectives: Why I March
The Women’s March is not for everyone. While for some, it is a thrilling, empowering, and deeply spiritual connection between personal beliefs and the physical exertion on a righteous pilgrimage, for others, its lack of diversity coupled with developing controversy is an outright insult towards communities of color and hypocritical in its supposed “inclusive, non-partisan march.”
Whatever your medium, the act of protest is in itself a deeply personal and value-driven experience. In other words, you do you, boo. We are all intelligent, strong, capable, and compassionate women here at The Rational, and we believe in trusting your inner moral compass.
Whether they will or will not be marching, the following writers have offered their contrasting perspectives on their stance in regard to the 2019 Women’s March and the impact of such social activism. Here is what they have to say:
WHY I MARCH
By Claudia M. Allen
In April 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech in which he stated, “Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions.” With the anniversary of the Women’s March and the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy falling upon us this weekend, I cannot help but see how over 50 years later, Dr. King’s fingerprint for social disruption and civil disobedience remains visible. Many question the efficacy of marching, asking, “What actual good does it do for millions to join together in solidarity and march to a capitol or government building?” Critics look back on the marches of the Civil Rights Movement and the social movements of the 21st century and argue that because no legislative change was produced as a result, our protest has no value.
But what if protesting for change in life and legislation is multifaceted? What if there is no one perfect way to protest or bring about change? What if significant change in life and legislation requires not a moment, but a lifestyle of protest? I believe a lifestyle of protest is not one that settles for the occasional march or social media post. I believe a lifestyle of protest is one that dedicates all of its speech to the rebuke of injustice, dedicates its time to community service to restore what injustice has broken, and provides a replacement for the unjust systems that continue to uplift some and marginalize others. If we as contemporary activists commit to a lifestyle of activism, then marching becomes one tool in our arsenal for producing real social change.
Marching by itself will not give us the change we need. But we also cannot produce the change we need without it. We need marches. We need prayer vigils. We need rallies. We need letter writing. We need books. We need sermons. We need podcasts. We need service to the underserved and unserved. We need mentoring. We need public servants dedicated to challenging and creating new laws, and public servants dedicated to enforcing the just laws that have already been written. We need a lifestyle of protest. And so I close with a quote from the speech referenced earlier by Dr. King: “We will be marching and attending rallies without end unless there is significant change in American life and policy.” Because marches partnered with the pen in cooperation with our humble service is what produces significant change in life and legislation.
So if you are out marching today, stay warm, stay dry, stay safe, and stay loud! If you are deliberately absent in protest against the lack of inclusivity and true intersectionality being reflected in the crowds, keep on keepin’ on and surround yourself with nothing but empowerment and pride today.
And if you’re looking for alternative ways to empower yourself and others around you, go out and donate to a women’s charity; go shopping at the local woman-owned biz; or grab your friends and go see a movie featuring a female lead. “On the Basis of Sex” is still out in theaters. Get that Ruth Bader Ginsburg on.