On Saturday we attended the Women’s March on Washington – Fairbanks. It was a really lovely experience. As you have heard by now, more than a million people worldwide got together to make known their concerns over a variety of different causes. It was entirely peaceful and it was the first thing to offer me any hope since November. I think some tweet or something that passed by one of my social media feeds said it best when they said, “Yesterday, I felt 2% hopeful. That’s 2% more hopeful than I felt the day before.”
On the other hand, there is a lot of misinformation going around. Let me clarify a few things for you.
- I did not march because I am whining that my candidate lost.
- I do not condone violence nor was there any.
- The march was called the Women’s March not only because one of the issues we face is the looming threat of giant backward steps for equality but also because it was organized by, you know, women.
- It was not a march primarily directed at protesting the inauguration of the newest person holding the office of the President. Those protests happened the day before and were the spontaneous outcry of frustrated people.
- If you were born a woman, still maintain parts of the anatomy of a woman, or are currently identifying/transitioning to a woman then this was your march and no amount of hashtagging or coming up with ludicrous anti-feminist arguments will make it not your march. If you have ever – received a pap smear, used birth control, gotten a breast exam, had medically trained midwives or doctors attend your labor and delivery, been paid a living wage or a wage equal to a man, been able to work while pregnant, breastfed in public, worn pants, worn makeup, competed on a sports team, received an education, voted, held a position of authority at work, run for office, held public office, and ohmygod I could do this ALL DAY – then you owe those things to the people, male and female, that came before you and believed that all humans have the right to the same level of dignity and personal autonomy. Feminism. Not so scary when you understand what it is, huh?*
The next thing to address is why my little family felt compelled to march.
- We marched because we see a new administration taking office on the platform of hatred and isolationism.
- We see an administration elected without a public mandate taking credit for one and acting without restraint.
- We see an unqualified, uninformed, willfully ignorant liar and bully looking to profit from our government.
- We are afraid. We don’t fear this administration because of what we THINK they are going to do. We fear them because they have told us explicitly WHAT they intend to do, and HAVE done, and ARE doing as we speak.
Additionally, I marched because of my firm belief that every human deserves to be treated with dignity. I was out there for anybody whose dignity has been or will be trampled upon by this administration. It is my firm belief that our government is there to serve and protect the people that give it power. Perhaps if some of the people now occupying the West Wing spent some time reading the Preamble to our Constitution (Just one paragraph! So small! Wow!) they would understand that government is not business and cannot be treated as such.
Make no mistake, though, that the ultimate goal of more than a million people marching worldwide was simply to say, “We are here. Your attempts to ignore us are futile. It may hurt your tender feelings that we didn’t vote for you and dislike you with a passion previously unknown to us, but you represent 100% of us now.”
Ultimately, many of these issues don’t directly impact my life, because privilege, but if my daughter takes away nothing else from Saturday, I want her to remember that it’s her job to stand up for people that ARE impacted by ignorant, immoral, and hateful legislation. I want her to remember how to use the tools available to her, even if that means it’s only her voice, her brain, and her body. Finally, I want her to remember that there are plenty of men out there, like her father, that do not feel threatened or emasculated by smart women exhibiting power. That is why my family marched together in -16 degree temperatures in a small town in Alaska.
*This also applies to you if you are married to a woman, parent of a woman, birthed a woman, were birthed from a woman, have been in a relationship of any sort with a woman, or have seen women from a distance.