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Everyday Misogyny: Women's March
Unpacking the Anti-Women's March Copypasta
Words by Gretchen Gales
Image by Robin Brox
*Editor's Note: Originally appeared on the author's Medium blog.
One of the biggest and historic marches on Washington for women’s rights, the Women’s March on Washington drew millions of people from around the globe in support of uniting everyone who believes women’s rights are human rights. I wasn’t able to go to the March, but wrote Congress and the new president in solidarity with the March.
While many people supported the Women’s March on Washington, I’ve seen a copy and pasted meme floating around rejecting the Women’s March. I wanted to address statements made in it as a thoughtful discussion of who and what this march represented, line by line:
“I saw this shared on a post about this ‘Women’s March’. THIS is why I don’t support it, and it’s worded perfectly!”
Sounds a whole lot like you didn’t look into the actual platform of the Women’s March. Try investigating it before condemning it. If that’s you, click here to actually read their platform (I won’t tell anyone).
“I am not a ‘disgrace to women’ because I don’t support the women’s march.”
I’m sorry if someone said that to you, but it can be baffling that supporting the retention of our rights and improving conditions for marginalized communities isn’t on your radar. If you don’t know what the women’s march is about and have relied on opinions or biased media for information (which we’re all guilty of), here’s the first line of their mission statement:
“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
I do not feel I am a “second class citizen” because I am a woman.
Good for you, but there’s many women, such as women of color, women who are victims of sexual violence, trans women (and men), and more I’m failing to mention, who would say otherwise. And they’ve been saying otherwise.
I do not feel my voice is “not heard” because I am a woman.
Congrats, I’m glad the people in your life have valued your thoughts and opinions and haven’t dismissed them as invalid. A majority of the time I also feel heard, but I think I talk kind of loudly and often enough not to give many people a choice. But consider the women too afraid to speak out about sexual assault in fear that no one will believe them or blame them, and their fears aren’t unfounded.
I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman.
And you should take every opportunity you can in this life. But there are actually a lot of barriers for many women in this country. Not being taken seriously due to gender is one of them. Read on for more examples, or I’ll just start getting repetitive.
I do not feel that I “don’t have control of my body or choices” because I am a woman.
Would you tell that to the one in five women who are sexually assaulted during their time at college? Or in an abusive relationship? If you have, I’d strongly consider actively working to become less of a judgmental and cruel person. Here’s another excellent point and quote from another powerful pieceon this same re-posted meme:
“Not everyone gets free reproductive healthcare in this country. Have you ever stopped using birth control because the clinic in your neighborhood closed, and the closest one now is across town, and you can’t get there because you’re working two jobs and someone else in your family uses the one car in the driveway? If you’re feeling OK, putting off that exam for a year, or two, or three is almost always an easy decision when you literally have to decide how to spend the $50 in your hand and your kids need stuff.”
I do not feel like I am “ not respected or undermined” because I am a woman.
I AM a woman.
Cool, I’m glad you’re a strong, confident woman!
I can make my own choices.
Absolutely, that’s your right! And other women deserve the same.
I can speak and be heard.
Amen, girl. I hope you let friends from different backgrounds be heard in your conversations too.
I can VOTE.
White women have been able to vote since the 19th Amendment (August 18th, 1920, but who’s counting?). Native Americans have had the right to vote since 1924 with the Snyder Act, but since the decision was left to the states and the same voter intimidation tactics used against blacks, it took about forty more years to gain true suffrage. The 1965 Voting Rights Act finally removed barriers such as poll taxes and literacy tests that stopped blacks from registering to vote and actually voting. The Library of Congresshas a handy section all about voting rights, how long we’ve had a voice in this country, whatever you’d want to know.
I can work if I want.
27 million women in the US alone have some sort of disability, the majority of those cases being rheumatism and arthritis. Other women suffer from detrimental mental and physical disabilities that leave them unable to work. Should they not have the same rights as others? Sure, there’s inspiring stories of people who can overcome fierce obstacles, but that’s not everyone.
I control my body.
And that’s your right, because it’s your body. Let other women control their bodies too.
I can defend myself.
I can defend my family.
Yay! Glad to be in company with a strong lady!
There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this world but MYSELF.
I do not blame my circumstances or problems on anything other than my own choices or even that sometimes in life, we don’t always get what we want.
I think if we’re talking about putting a quarter into a gumball machine and not getting a green gumball you wanted or trying out for soccer and not making the team, then yeah, I’d have to agree. But would you tell a woman who was raped that it was her fault? Or being laid off from a job you’ve worked hard at for 10+ years was a choice? Or having property destroyed by a huge storm? If you can figure out how to manipulate the weather or stop unemployment and rapists, let me know.
I take responsibility for myself.
I am not held back in life but only by the walls I choose to not go over which is a personal choice.
I grew up with really supportive parents. I was blessed and privileged. I think it’s easy to overlook the walls we’ve had no problem seeing over. When given the right tools, people can do great things in their lives. That’s why we should start motivating people when they are young. 21% of children in this country live in poverty, so providing them and their parents or guardians with resources they need to hop over walls placed in front of them is a great place to start. Some of those resources include a good public education in a safe environment. But when we funnel money into schools that succeed due to being in an area with middle and higher class families, we’re only building the walls higher.
It’s your responsibility to not ignore the suffering of fellow humans and to care about this world. A lot of times we don’t do a great job of it. But I think Roxane Gay puts it better anyhow:
“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”
If you want to speak, do so. But do not expect for me, a woman, to take you seriously wearing a pink va-jay-jay hat on your head and screaming profanities and bashing men.
Actually, the protest also included men and non-binary people. It was a pretty peaceful and meaningful gathering, as many protests have been. If you believe “bashing men” is rejecting that sexual violence and xenophobia shouldn’t be normalized, I’d like to wonder why your standards of men and society in general are so low.
I think the “pink va-jay-jay” hats you’re referring to are the cat ear hats, but I’m sure someone out there had a vagina hat (we’re adults here, we can say it).
If you have beliefs, and speak to me in a kind manner, I will listen. But do not expect for me to change my beliefs to suit yours. Respect goes both ways.
I’m glad you will respect me and my thoughts. It’s a little more refreshing than the time I mentioned the words “gender inequality” in a casual conversation about my classes and they laughed for ten seconds straight and then told me, “People just creating a lot out of nothing.” And without a chance for me to explain I wasn’t pulling the term out of a “pink va-jay-jay” hat. But I hope if or when a friend comes to you expressing pain and hurt over a racist comment made towards them or another unwanted advance from a guy at work, you’ll believe there’s a real problem with society.
If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not have the opportunity or means to have their voices heard:
Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive, have no rights and must always be covered.
China and India, infantcide of baby girls.
Afghanistan, unequal education rights.
Democratic Republic of Congo, where rapes are brutal and women are left to die, or HIV infected and left to care for children alone.
Mali, where women can not escape the torture of genital mutilation.
Pakistan, in tribal areas where women are gang raped to pay for men’s crime.
Guatemala, the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages.
And that’s just a few examples.
You’re right: Those are just a few examples of injustice. However, the purpose of the March wasn’t to ignore the plights of other women, but to highlight them. It’s true women in this country have a lot to be thankful for, but that shouldn’t stop us from improving things here in our country. The people marching came from all sorts of backgrounds, including those who have fought for the rights of women around the globe.
I’ve often see the argument that we have to “take care of our own first,” and if that’s the case, then why can’t our own speak out against their struggles without being labeled as “whiners?” And I hope since you’re bringing it up, you’ve done something to prevent more of these tragedies, whether it be monetary donations, service work, activism, or otherwise.
So when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don’t have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast, and it’s like a vacation away that they have paid for to get there…
As a “whiner,” I’ll admit that a lot of the women there did indeed have privileges, and unfortunately some may have not recognized the privileges they have as opposed to others marching. However, many people there were there to fight for women to continue to have rights in this country, the right to feel safe while walking down the street, to have access to essential healthcare such as mammograms and other screenings.
This WOMAN does not support it.
I can’t speak for every person at the march of course, but I’ll still support you to make your own choices. I know a lot of people who definitely wouldn’t like my perspective on the march, but there’s too much at stake to stay silent. And if that means I’m a liberal crybaby, a lazy millennial, or a nasty woman, then I’ll wear the names proudly.
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