When I was little, my older brother and I argued a lot. When my dad would get fed up with our bickering, he would mock us in a shrill voice, whining, “I hate you. You hate me. I hate you more. Waah, waah, waah.” It made us realize how annoying we were and usually got us to stop.
I can’t help but think of this as I see what is currently happening in our nation. We have become so incredibly selfish on both sides. It is so sad. As I review coverage of the Women’s March on Saturday that took place in several cities worldwide, I have such mixed feelings. On one hand I think, “Yeah! Women are making history right now!” On the other hand I can’t believe how much vulgarity has been embraced to get a point across.
I get it. It’s protest art. Expression comes in many forms and sometimes vulgarity is the one guaranteed way to be heard, to get noticed, to (seemingly) be taken seriously. But I personally, have a very difficult time understanding those who diminish the purpose of such an important movement by dousing it in tasteless expletives and crude images. I kept thinking about how amazing it would have been to take my daughter to witness a women’s movement first hand. It would have been incredible to show her what the suffragists did to earn us the right to vote.
There were so many things represented at Saturday’s march that are invaluably important to me, and that I hope are important to her when she is old enough to understand. Things like pay equality, access to healthcare, environmental preservation, protection from human trafficking, and abolishing rape culture in our society. However, we didn’t go because my 5-year-old daughter doesn’t need to be exposed to illustrations of bloody vaginas. My little fashionista doesn’t need to know that the pink hats everyone was donning (and that she probably would have wanted for herself) are referred to as “pussyhats,” and no, not because those ladies like cats. My young reader doesn’t need to add abortion or c-u-n-t to her vocabulary. She’s too smart to see something on a sign and not ask what it means. She’s too innocent to understand any of it. And she, even at 5, is too deserving of respect and honesty for me to lie to her if she did ask. So, we didn’t go.
I came to find out, afterward, that we probably wouldn’t have been welcomed anyway. In fact, we may have even been turned away. You see, access to healthcare for women is something that I mentioned is very important to me. WARNING: Unpopular opinion! To me that doesn’t mean abortion specifically. I, personally, am pro-life. You will never convince me otherwise. That does NOT make me anti-woman. It is so much more complex than that.
I believe women should have affordable access to healthcare. I believe women should have a safe place to receive medical services. I believe women should have affordable access to contraceptives, Paps, mammograms, and breast ultrasounds. I believe women facing unplanned pregnancy should be informed of ALL the possible choices they could make, and the long-term consequences of those choices. I believe women in these situations should have access to counseling, prenatal care, and adoption coordination services. Healthcare for women shouldn’t be more expensive just because our anatomy is different or because we carry a greater reproductive responsibility than men. I learned that my less-popular opinion about one component of women’s healthcare may have invalidated my presence and opinion on every other issue that was covered on Saturday. Ridiculous, if you ask me. Ridiculous if you ask the women who were turned away too.
The other thing that bothered me about Saturday’s march was its trigger. The march was organized after Trump was elected to be POTUS. Sorry to break it to you ladies, but Trump is not the source of our problems. Yes, he may perpetuate traits that we hate, and yes, he has been elected into a huge position of power, but quite frankly, we should have been marching decades ago. Pay inequality is nothing new. Sadly, rape culture may as well be referred to as the status quo. And we’ve been burning our planet into oblivion for a long time now. I understand that women are worried about what this administration is capable of doing. However, we needed to paint signs and get riled up a long time ago. And we need to be motivated by more than just our current government to stand up for what we believe is right. It starts in our homes. It begins with how we raise our sons and daughters. It is affected by how we work and who we choose to work for. It is built on how we treat other women, how we treat others in general, and how we treat ourselves.
Again, my feelings about Saturday’s march are very jumbled up right now. I am proud to be a woman. I am delighted to live in a country where so many women were able to stand up and march for their cause. I do wish that it would have been more inclusive of every woman who wanted to be there, and I wish that it could have been more appropriate for women of all ages. With that said, I do think the 2017 Women’s March opened some eyes and started some conversations. So now, ladies, the world is watching. What are we going to let them see? What are we going to stand for? How are we going to present ourselves?