I was in DC for the Women’s March on Washington, (which turned out to be the Women’s March on the WORLD). The experience is one that I will never forget for the most positive and loving reasons. My more conservative friends have asked us, “What is it that you are protesting?” and many of my more progressive friends answer with frustrated eye rolling. But I feel that is a poor response. We need to succinctly explain why this particular election struck a chord with so many people around the subject of women’s rights.
Frankly, this is the ultimate slap in the face to any thinking woman who has struggled against the glass ceiling professionally or who has personally been used or abused for their gender – which is all of us.
The march was not a protest against Trump, the man. While there were plenty of negative references to him, he is a symbol of a much bigger issue – which is this: A highly educated woman, with 25+ years of experience in international affairs and government, who was likely the most qualified person, of either gender, in centuries to run for president lost to a man with zero experience in public office and a man who spent a lot of his time publically humiliating woman based on their looks; a man who demeans or dismisses women who have anything pertinent to say; and a man whose hollow words spray out like those of a carnival barker. His campaign was filled with disrespect and gaslit lies, which anyone with eyes and ears should have been able to see through.
The thing that moved us to come out in the millions to march for women’s rights is the fact that in a modern age, when we fancy ourselves as an evolved and superior culture, so many Americans, both men and women, still could not bring themselves to vote a woman into the office of US President. Many moderate conservatives may not even realize that is why they voted for Trump. They will say that they didn’t like Hillary’s attitude or she made a mistake not visiting Michigan. But if you truly examine your own psyche, you know those are surface excuses. It is so ingrained in our upbringing that we have to dig deep to even acknowledge it. It is the idea that a woman has never done it, so a woman could never do it.
The crazy thing is SHE WAS ALREADY DOING IT! She is a lawyer! She was a senator! She was secretary of state! To think, deep down, that this person, who might be bitchy; who might be outspoken; who might even be sneaky, was the lesser of evils against a man who is obviously in it for ego and money, who bankrupted several companies, made fun of disabled people, pettily feuded with female celebrities in public and who takes every opportunity to show disrespect to women (even his own wife on his inauguration day) is simply too much.
That is why we marched. That is why we awoke from our age-old resignation, where we tell ourselves, ‘Well, that’s just the way it is’ when faced with sexism in our everyday lives. I don’t think you have any idea what has been unleashed.
To quote a Netflix series opening, “Women are strong as hell.”
And you can bet, this is just the beginning.