Tomorrow I walk in the Women’s March on Washington.
I realize there are a lot of people trying to understand this march. I see the furrowed brows, the unspoken questions, the quizzical looks. Most ask why I am marching, many look at me in silence trying to decide what to say, while others voice some rather bizarre ideas of the purpose of the march. It has been a little amusing:
You must be an anti-Trump Democrat: I am not an anti-Trump democrat. I’m also not a pro-Trump republican. I’m somewhere in between. My view on Trump is watchful waiting. My political ideals are somewhere between the left and right, and as such, I have never understood following a political party for the sake of following a political party. I follow issues and I research the concerns that impact my world. I’m an educated woman; I understand there are tangible and intangible ripple effects of declarations made in all countries, some of which I do not even comprehend the language much less the culture. Having said that, I rarely believe media outlets and I ruefully realize finding meaningful information on political issues is next to impossible. My walk is not about a particular political affiliation.
You must hate men: This one makes me laugh. Why would I hate men? That’s like saying I hate seafood just because I don’t like sushi (actually I like sushi but you get my point). How could I not like half the world’s population because of the actions of a few? I love men. I grew up in a houseful of males, being the only girl in a family of six. My longest most convoluted history is with my three charming, highly entertaining, somewhat wacky brothers. I proceeded to have 2 sons myself, and those two young men bring me the greatest joy and wonderment on the planet. I have a sweet, highly intelligent father whom at age 87, still awes me. I have a loving supportive boyfriend that values my accomplishments and treats me like I walk on water. I probably relate better to men than to women, and I have a passel of male friends that would laugh at the thought that I hate men. So no, I do not hate men.
Are you a lesbian? Huh? I have to be a lesbian to walk this walk? Are you “special”?
You’re one of those nazi feminists. Does that imply a radical closed minded feminist view that does not allow discussion, debate, and review of my ideas? My way or no way? Nope, that is not me. I may be a feminist, but I am not a zealot blinded by my opinions. But yes, my walk has a feministic corollary. And to enlighten my audience, feminism is defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes. The synonyms for feminism are; feminist movement, women’s rights, sisterhood, women’s movement, women’s liberation, womanism, rights of women, women’s suffrage, emancipation, and so on.
Then why are you walking? Because, as a 50+-year-old female living in the greatest country ever, I have been subjected to civil rights infringements all my life merely for being a woman. You may scoff at this but I assure you it’s true. Here’s the nitty gritty (it ain’t pretty); Consider sexual assault, physical abuse, emotional torment, manipulation, humiliation, threatened, intimidated, paid less, turned away, overlooked, and dismissed. Quite frankly, not all of this is done by men, there are plenty of misguided women that perpetuate the cycle. My job as a health care provider means people tell me their story. Those stories are visceral. Those stories keep me awake at night. I take those stories with me day to day. I know to my core, without any doubt, the statistics on violence against women are sorely under-reported. A female that has not experienced one or more of the above is a rarity. Look at the women around you and digest that.
So, it’s a personal walk. Oh yes, it’s personal. But it’s not just about me. This is a Women’s Rights March. It embodies the past, the present, and the future of all women. It honors the women before me, the women of my generation, and the rising women to come.
But more about that later … Today, I make preparations to walk.