I wasn’t able to attend any of the Women’s March events, but I watched in awe as images rolled in which reflected that it was an enormous, powerful, and peaceful demonstration. It’s one for the history books, to be sure.
Rather than celebrating this tremendous exercise of free speech and assembly, detractors have already been dismissive of the motivation for marching. I suppose the argument goes something like this…Roe v. Wade hasn’t been overturned…yet. The provisions of the ACA ensuring that women won’t get charged more for healthcare haven’t been repealed…yet. Yeah, Donald Trump said some gross stuff about how fun and easy it is to sexually assault women, but that was just locker room talk. He hasn’t sexually assaulted (most of) you, so why are you marching already? Jeez, just give the guy a chance!
Here’s the thing…Donald Trump has telegraphed his attitudes toward women for a long time, and based on his track record of sexism and outright contempt of women, I think our collective concern is not premature. And can I point out that it’s kinda sexist in and of itself to call for passivity and patience? I suppose a “proper lady” might show the president a bit more respect. But fuck that. I’m not a proper lady, I’m a Nasty Woman.
And speaking of Nasty Women, here’s the other thing…The Women’s March also represents a response to a country that holds women in such low esteem that we elected Donald Trump, a man who is unfathomably unprepared, both in knowledge and in temperament, to be president rather than an elect a woman. I know Hillary has her flaws, but I know in my bones that no male candidate has ever been subjected to such relentless scrutiny and false comparisons. There should have been no comparison between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That they ended up on the same ballot shows some pretty gnarly institutional sexism, and the Women’s March was about that, too, I think. We know our female candidates will have to run “backwards and in heels,” but damn it, do we have to trip them and stand on their necks, too?
So to everyone who marched today, Bravo. Your courage and community were beautiful to behold. And your timing was perfect. When the stakes are this high, complacency is complicity. Trump might ignore us, but history won’t.
I marched in Chicago, and while I enjoyed all the witty signs and clever slogans, the sign that hit me hardest was one where every single one of Donald Trump’s comments about women were listed out. My eyes managed to find it in the sea of signs often. It made me pause, it made me sad, it made me angry. And then it made me adjust my sign, walk a little straighter, and smile even bigger at all the beautiful women, and men, around me.