More than one million people extended the Women’s March on Washington to reach all seven continents on Jan. 21. From Nairobi, Kenya, to Paris to Madison to Antarctica, men and women spoke out against President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and proposed policies restricting and stripping away women’s rights in America.
This was a triumphant moment for women and for the feminist cause in more ways than one. It brought millions of people together to reiterate, once again, women deserve rights and equality. It aimed to be more inclusive than the feminist movement has been in the past, and I would argue it was largely successful.
It was a protest for rights we, as women, should not have to be fighting for anymore, yet here we are.
But conservative women have taken to speaking out against the Women’s March, saying that those who participated have a “victim’s mentality” and the March was nothing more than the liberal left whining about losing the election. Women have also taken to comparing women’s rights in America to those in countries such as Pakistan, Guatemala and Mali, whose “real injustices and tragedies” far outweigh the nonexistent problems American women are complaining about.
Tomi Lahren, perhaps the most outspoken conservative woman who spends her time condemning the “liberal snowflakes,” spoke out against the Women’s March and feminism in general on her talk show Tomi on TheBlaze.
“What reason [did liberals have for the Women’s March]? To show little girls around the country that, they too, can play the victim card, they too can have their greatest contribution to society be whining about an election … jeez, I would hope you’d encourage your daughters to have thick skin, a good grasp on reality and a snowflake exterior,” Lahren said.
Susan L.M. Goldberg wrote on PJ Media of the protesters who participated in the Women’s March that, “If you want to throw the biggest temper-tantrum in American history, you just need to be a really big pussy.”
But were the millions of people who protested on Jan. 21 really just giant pussies? Most definitely not, and for other women to ridicule their counterparts for standing up for women’s rights that benefit all women is disgusting.
It’s true there are women’s rights violations all over the world, many more grievous than those occurring in the United States. However, violations in other countries do not negate what is happening here. What is happening in America is Trump and his cabinet, more white and more male than any cabinet since Ronald Reagan’s, is hellbent on taking away a woman’s right to an abortion, access to contraception and demoting women to second-class citizens.
This administration does not believe women are capable of being strong, independent leaders, as made apparent throughout Trump’s campaign, and no woman should be okay with that.
Furthermore, the very idea women should sit back and watch as men strip their rights away from them is outdated and insulting. There is a difference between having thick skin or a grasp on reality, and being complacent in the face of adversity.
Now is certainly not the time to be complacent, considering that, a week into his administration, Trump has already signed an executive order detrimental to women’s health worldwide. Women like Lahren need to stop telling girls to have a thick skin while their right to their own body is being taken away.
Women need to stop telling other women to stop whining that Trump is president because, quite frankly, in seven days a Trump presidency has already been detrimental to women’s health, and he still has four years left in office.
In response to the women who ask what the point of marching is, or what it will accomplish, have you ever heard of the Civil Rights Movement, or the protests to secure the 19th Amendment which gave you the right to vote?
Last time I checked, protests the size of the Women’s March in America have had a pretty good track record of getting things done. They eventually secured equal rights for minorities following the restrictive Jim Crow laws of the south. They made sure that you, and other women, had the right to vote.
Protests are social instruments that have had a major impact on America’s history, so I don’t understand why women in 2017 are bashing the current protests for being whiny, liberal, leftist events that will accomplish nothing.
I also don’t understand women who don’t consider themselves feminists. Feminism is not saying that women are better than men, that all women who consider themselves feminists must be pro-choice or that women cannot be stay-at-home mothers. Instead, feminism is a movement that wants women to be equal. Feminists want equal pay, because women still earn 80 cents to every dollar a man earns.
Feminists want equal opportunity for women, because, although women are more educated than men, we make up just 20 percent of Congress and have never been elected president. Feminists want the right to choose what to do to our own bodies, just like men have the right to choose what to do to theirs.
Feminism transcends political affiliations, religion and culture, and women who cannot get behind this either don’t understand the movement or have internalized some of the misogyny rampant in Washington.
The Women’s March is something that all women should appreciate, because it is working to protect rights that benefit all women, not just those who marched.
I’m not asking for all women to agree wholeheartedly with what the march stood for, but I am asking for women who disagree to stop publicly derailing those who marched and educate themselves on what the march was really protesting, and which rights you potentially would’ve lost if millions had not marched.
Aly Niehans ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in international studies and intending to major in journalism.