Saturday I witnessed the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
Thousands of men, women and children all over the globe, coming together to fight for what they believe in. The women’s march was beautiful, in every sense of the word. I have never felt less alone, more united and more hopeful that those of us who believe in progress, who want America to continue moving forward instead of reverting to its ugly past, will make our voices heard. I was thrilled to see people of all ages, races, genders and walks of life taking part in the march and I was glad that many of the speakers and signs I saw focused on intersectionality and inclusion. I felt like a resistance was taking root, and I could not have been more thrilled to be a part of it.
In photos: Women’s March brings colorful protest for justice to Madison streetsThe Women’s March on Madison, which occurred alongside a nationwide movement, created not only a united front against the perpetuation Read…
But let’s make one thing crystal clear: the symbol of our resistance is not a pink pussy. It can’t be. True revolution will only come from solidarity, and when it comes to solidarity, white women have a pretty shoddy track record.
While white women have every right to be scared about issues like birth control and abortion, it’s important to take a step back and look at the big picture, which shows that white women have a bad habit of stepping on our more marginalized sisters and brothers.
We’ll use their words, their fight, their blood, their sweat and their tears to get what we want, but when someone decides it’s okay for white girls to vote or have jobs or even run for president, white women bail. Not only do we bail, but we do pretty awful stuff, like, oh, I don’t know, elect Donald Trump as our president.
Trump’s presidency will hurt a lot of people, and there’s no doubt that it will hurt white women. But, frankly, Trump’s election will hurt people of color, immigrants, Muslims, disabled people, queer people, trans people and many other oppressed groups much, much more. Therefore, the symbol of our resistance needs to be one that represents all marginalized groups, not just those with pale vaginas.
During the election, the majority of white women chose to cling to their white privilege at the expense of equality and safety for all people. Now, white women must make a similar choice: Do we stay comfortable in our whiteness and simply ride out the next few years, or will this be our wake-up call, the moment when we finally realize that nobody will be free unless we are all free? Feminism cannot succeed while racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia and wealth inequality survive.
Trans women may not have a pussy, but they are nearly twice as likely to be victims of sexual violence compared to their cisgender counterparts. Black women don’t have pale skin, but they are three times more likely to be incarcerated than white women. As a movement, Feminism must stand up for these people like we, as white women, have stood up for each other in the past.
Madison community marches in solidarity with women around the country and worldThe footsteps of women in Madison echoed those from around the world as they marched in solidarity Saturday to protest the upcoming presidency Read…
Look, I’m not here to make anyone feel bad. I’m proud of us, all of us, who care enough about this country and the people in it to wake up on a Saturday morning and skip brunch to march in the streets for what we believe in. If you’re a white woman and you’re trying, and you care, I’m proud of you. We are right to be proud of the work we’ve done when it comes to advancing women’s rights.
However, it is time to grow, and that means it is time for white women to be a little uncomfortable; to look around us and stand with every woman, not just the ones who share our priorities or our skin color. It is time for us to center the discussion around those who are truly oppressed, much more so than us: black people, brown people, trans people, Muslims, incarcerated people and many other groups, and to make sure our words and actions amplify theirs, instead of drowning them out.
Julia O’Donnell ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in journalism and strategic communication.