Two Feminists, Two Perspectives: Why I Won’t 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 WON’T MARCH
by Rebekah Hinchley
It’s hard for me to detail how the 2017 Women’s March I attended in Los Angeles could have been more inclusive, primarily because I am a white, young, able-bodied, straight-passing, cis woman, and I am afforded so many privileges in life. That being said, in my mission to raise awareness of the struggles of women outside of my privileged demographic, I have decided not to participate in the Women’s March, writing and vocalizing instead about how harmful I found at least one element of the movement to be.
What left the worst taste in my mouth about the march I attended was the open adoration of police. I understand civility, to an extent, but I still cannot condone the invitation and overly generous warmth extended to the police at this march. The high-fives and “Thank You’s” offered to the police were a slap in the face to our sisters of color given the longstanding and continued history of extreme police brutality against racial and ethnic minorities. They were a slap in the face to our disabled sisters, as police are disproportionately more likely to use violence and lethal force. They were a slap in the face to our trans sisters, as we look at the relationship between the police force and the LGBTQIAP+ community which erupted amidst the Stonewall Riots. Working with the full support of local police at this march was a slap in the face especially to our sisters who find themselves at the intersections of several of these groups, as they experience multiple layers of each of their communities’ traumas. How can this march possibly say it’s “For all women” when this one act has the potential to alienate so many?
This is only one example of how deeply the Women’s March failed to be for anyone besides well-off, white women less plagued by the trauma of police brutality. While I don’t have all the answers, I do know that as a well-off, white woman, I can start by boosting the voices of those who are routinely overlooked. I don’t think the creators of the Women’s March had bad intentions, but they seem to have been blinded by short-term desires, like sticking it to Trump. Instead, this march could have focused on fostering conversations and letting women who are even more likely to be bulldozed by this administration voice their fears. This march has a long way to go before reaching its goals of being the reflected voice of women everywhere. That’s a tall order, but if that’s the tagline you choose for yourself, you need to at least try to live up to that. In the words of Flavia Dzodan, “My feminism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit.”
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.