On Jan. 21, one of the biggest grassroots movements in history happened: The Women’s March. Not only did people join together here in the United States, but around the world as well.
A lot of people feel that this march accomplished absolutely nothing, but that is completely wrong. You know about the march. You’ve read about it. You’ve seen pictures. You’ve heard what some women, and even men, spoke out about. You’ve heard of it, and you’ve reacted in some sort of way.
Women’s rights are human rights, and that’s what the march stood for. People didn’t come together to say that all men are horrible or that men are disgusting, but rather came together so us women could have equal pay, control of our own bodies, be able to breast-feed in public without people deeming it as inappropriate. So we could have paid maternity leave, tax-free feminine products, for the respect everyone deserves as a human being.
I wanted so desperately to attend a march, but sadly, I was working. And that’s one of the many things I’ve heard when people try to tear down the march: “Unlike all of these other women, I have a job. I have responsibilities to tend to and don’t have time to whine and wave signs around.”
First of all, plenty of those people have jobs too. In fact, most of them do. This day had been planned, so many people set their schedules to where they could attend. It was also on a Saturday, where a lot of people wouldn’t even have to ask off of work because they already had that day off. And I’m grateful for those that did attend. They were there for me. They used their voices for me. They used their voices for you.
Second of all, if you want change, you have to make sacrifices. People sacrificed time away from work, family, friends, etc.
Many people, including women, turned their noses up at the march because they felt that women weren’t treated as second class citizens. Women didn’t have the right to vote until 1920. A black women and a white women couldn’t attend the same school until 1964. Yes, we have more rights as women now than women in the past, but that doesn’t mean that we are equal.
We make about 78 cents for every man’s dollar. Men hold more positions in power than women, and for someone like me that is biracial AND a woman, the chance of holding a higher up position is even slimmer. We are constantly told that “boys will be boys” when complaining about the way men treat us. We are told to carry mace, or even tasers if we have to walk alone at night. We’re catcalled, we “ask” to be raped, we’re objectified. We can’t even leave our drinks unattended.
In today’s society, I feel that some people hear the word “feminism,” and immediately think of it as something negative. However, being a feminist doesn’t mean that you are someone that thinks men are pigs, or stands outside burning bras, or gets offended by and tries to challenge every single statement thrown at you. Being a feminist means that you want women to be treated the same way as men. You want to be taken seriously. You want to make the same amount of money as men do for the same amount of work.
I understand that some women don’t want to feel oppressed. They don’t want to feel that they are treated as less than a man. And that’s okay. I’ll march for them anyway. I’ll speak for them anyway. And so will thousands upon thousands of other men and women. We wont’t stop fighting. We won’t stop striving for equality. We are feminist.