Following President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March on Washington took place. Sparking hundreds of other marches of solidarity across the globe, from Ghana to Antarctica, the movement unified women as they marched to display that during this crucial period in our world, there is no time for complacency.
Nearly five million people peacefully coming together and marching for the rights of women is an image that conjures up hope and strength.
I attended the Boston Women’s March, which turned out to be the fourth biggest in size after D.C., which was the flagship of the marches. Boston was buzzing with a level of excitement and power that I have never seen. The trains were congested with eager residents of Boston holding signs which read remarks such as “my body my choice” and “pussy grabs back.” Stepping off the train, I saw that the Boston Common had transformed into a sea of “pussy hats.” I nudged my way into the center of the mass, held my sign above my head and found myself cheering at the speakers’ empowering statements. It felt powerful to be part of this moment. I left the march with a feeling of positivity and upon reading numerous articles and much personal reflection, I realize my privilege in being able to feel this way.
While the march was incredibly unifying and seemed to be a push in the right direction, no march is perfect and this one definitely had its flaws. The magnitude of the march was no disappointment – the impressive turnout proved that. However, it is important to recognize the white demographic that populates the majority of these marches. Naturally, people feel more inclined to attend marches that pertain to them directly, but this is a problem. We can not leave this march, rub our hands together and take a seat. We can not feel satisfied if this is all that we stand for. For millions of people, this was their very first march. In this pivotal point in our country, it is the time that people start showing up not just on behalf of their own agenda, but for other issues as well, even if they do not directly pertain to them. Those who attended the Women’s March need to start attending marches for movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Dakota Access Pipeline and push themselves to take part in movements where we do not necessarily see ourselves reflected.
The truth is, a good majority of the women who took part in the Women’s march will always have the privilege of affording abortion and birth control, even if it isn’t federally funded. We need to keep fighting for the people who will not be able to afford this under the new administration.
An overlying theme of the march was the idea of womanhood being equated to a vagina and many of the signs seemed to center feminism around having a vagina. Not only is this symbolism false, but it is simultaneously blind to the transgender community. Not all women have female anatomy and not all people with female anatomy are women. We need to spread the message that feminism is inclusive and intersectional.
I left the Women’s March feeling optimistic for our country and while my hope remains unwavering, it is the time to recognize these core problems so that we can move forward in a productive way.
Marching is important and it feels good to come together and scream, but this can not be all that we do. It is day five of Trump’s presidency and he has already made numerous executive actions that are setting us back. Call your representatives and on the smaller scale, engage in conversation with those in your communities. There is so much more that can be done. Let’s get to work.