I don’t like to talk much with people who always agree with me. It is amusing to coquette with an echo for a little while, but one soon tires of it. — Thomas Carlyle
Last Saturday, millions of women, men and children participated in women’s marches across the country, voicing their opposition to the Trump presidency and support for women’s rights, health care and equal opportunity.
Folks across the country hoisted a variety of handcrafted signs up in the air, some simply reminding how “FUNdamental” and important the rights of women are. Others referencing lady parts like “Viva la Vulva” or “Build a Uterine Wall.” Many employed the P word. Others used the opportunity to still say they supported Hillary Clinton or to call Trump a “racist Chee-to” or a “fascist” or a “white supremacist” or make fun of his hair (“we shall overcomb” — I don’t care who you are, that one’s just funny).
It was inspiring to see so many banding together to stand up for what they believe in. But at the same time, it has also been disheartening to see so many women attacking each other in the days leading up to and after the march.
The first controversy arose even before the first pink “lady part” hats were passed out. Originally, pro-life groups who also opposed Trump’s vulgar “grab them by the P” comments wanted to participate. But after social media outrage, pro-choice groups put the kibosh on this, even disinviting a pro-life women’s group who was sponsoring the event.
I think this was a very shortsighted move and just from a purely political perspective, a gross tactical error.
Ladies, united we stand, divided we fall.
Who do you think is going to “grab” more attention from politicos on both sides of the aisle in Washington? A group of protesters who can be easily written off (rightly or wrongly) as a bunch of Hillary’s liberal sore losers or a group of “progressive, pro-choice women marching arm in arm with conservative pro-life women”?
Think about the difference in those headlines. I can assure you the latter would have packed a much more powerful political punch.
But politics aside, ladies on both sides of the reproductive rights debate, do you really think if we just keep screaming inside of our own echo chambers anything is ever going to change for women as a whole?
Perhaps we will never find an “unhappy medium” on abortion, and I say unhappy because even pro-choice women know there is nothing happy about having to make that choice.
But there are many other issues where we can find threads of commonality.
I think most women can agree all women should have access to gynecological care as well as affordable birth control, breast and annual exams. We all agree it is never OK to grab a woman inappropriately. And we all want to see our daughters grow up to have the same opportunities as our sons.
If we can find the ties that bind us rather than fixate on the few that separate us, we will have a much stronger force and ability to effect change. I realize for many in the women’s movement there is no room for finding common ground. If you are not pro this enough or anti that enough, it is my way of the vajayjay or the highway.
And I think that is unfortunate. We’re not a bunch of robots on “Westworld.”
After the women’s march, a woman penned a response that went viral saying she was not a “disgrace to women” because she did not support the women’s march. Her basic argument was that she felt she had it pretty darn good as a woman in America and she called on women to fight for the rights of women who lived in more oppressed countries.
I thought she had some excellent points. But the anonymous woman was excoriated online. There must be a thousand open letters dedicated to her. Most of them are rebuttals essentially saying — look lady, we aren’t talking about women who can afford to go to marches and get annual exams, we are fighting for the ones who can’t. Or the letters reminded her of all of the women of the past who fought for the rights she now enjoys or stated how ridiculous it was to tolerate sexism from our president just because we don’t live in a dirt hut in countries where we our genitals can be mutilated.
Also, all excellent points!
And I’d be willing to bet this “unknown writer” would absolutely agree with all of those points too. This is what drives me crazy with social media outrage. Sometimes we are all saying the same thing but don’t hear each other because we are too busy screaming at each other in ALL CAPS.
I have seen countless people arguing over this march — and sadly it’s mostly women wrangling with each other. Ladies, though we all have the same set of X chromosomes, we are a diverse lot. And thank god for that!
I believe in a woman’s right to control what happens to her own body, but I absolutely respect the viewpoint of women who are pro-life. And even moreso now that I have my own children.
I think there are way more great men in this country who support women and want what’s best for them than the other way around.
I loved Scarlett Johansson’s speech at the Washington march, but I hated Madonna’s.
I get why the P word was appropriated for these purposes, but I do not want to have my woman card revoked because I don’t want to use it all the time. (Because I don’t! I hate that word as much as I hate the words “menses,” “juicy” and “moist.”)
Let’s not forget we are wonderfully complex creatures. We have a whole range of thoughts and ideas on topics forged out of a lifetime of our own experiences. I do not know what the next four years will bring, but I am quite certain if we spend it tearing one another down because we don’t think in exactly the same ways, we have a much greater chance of not accomplishing the things we can agree on.
The comfortable echo chambers we find it so easy to reside in are going to have to be shattered before anything can be done about that pesky ceiling made of glass.