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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

January 23, 2017
Women's March on (fill in your location)

Yes, I marched.

And, yes, I intended to stay active, but that's not why I gathered y'all here today.

What struck me hardest on Saturday was that we weren't having "a" march. We were having about a dozen marches, with all of the participants lumped together in one huge crowd in each city.

In Denver, we had anti-Trump marchers, Equal Pay marchers, Stay-Outta-My-Womb marchers, anti-Sexual Predator marchers, anti-White-Women-Trump-Voter marchers, anti-Russian marchers, feminist marchers, pro-LGBTQ+ marchers, environmentalist marchers, and a bunch of other groups I can't at this moment remember, including one subset of marchers who just pleaded for a general return to sanity. Overall, a very inclusive group. No one squabbled and we all shared each other's chants fairly equally.

It probably lacked the sheer energy of 100,000 people gathered for a single purpose, but those people showed up, waited patiently as we dealt with crowds three or four times larger than expected, then moved out and marched in their turn. They were committed.

Not everyone shared the same experience.

A group of Indigenous women in DC were treated with appalling insensitivity by some of the women around them. (Was this a failing of "feminism" to be educational and inclusive or just normal human stupidity on display?)

I've read that some of the WOC (Women of Color) were insulted by the pink hats since not all women have pink vulvas.

Seriously. Neon pink was not chosen because it's the color of white women's genitalia, it isn't, but because of the whole blue=boy, pink=girl thing.*

Some women were insulted by the pussy hats since not all women have vulvas.

Pussy hats were not chosen because the march was only inclusive of people with a certain configuration of genitalia. They were a response to the Chump's offensive, demeaning "grab 'em by the pussy" comment.

The intent was not racist or sexist or genitalist (if there is such a word).

The objections bothered me, though. I was--disturbed to realize that a number of groups took the hat idea (and the coloring) as a personal slight--as excluding them from the moment.

Was there a better symbol for a Women's March at that moment in time?

I honestly can't think of one.

Was there a better color to denote "women"?

Not in this society, no.

And yet, a significant subsection of the marcher population were offended by the symbolism, offering interpretations that would never have occurred to me, any more than it would have occurred to me to have objected to the neon pink because my own, personal woman-bits don't actually glow in the dark.

I am--discouraged.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

* I think it was a good choice. This way, the Chump's staff can't steal any of the images and reuse them to his advantage, the way they did the Obama inauguration photo. Those seas of hot pink hats are unmistakeable.


Posted by AnneZook at 12:36 PM


Comments

I saw hats in a variety of colors: nobody was enforcing pink.
But the other complaint is a little more interesting, I think, because I did see signage that really did equate genitalia to femininity and legitimacy (as well as signage that explicitly included trans women).
We didn't have a march at all, but a rally, though the post-rally exodus did kind of turn into marching at a few points.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at January 23, 2017 09:05 PM

Yes. Lots of different marches, all lumped together.

The more I thought about it all, the more it bothered me. There are too many groups of women who feel marginalized within the overall "women's movement" (if such a thing actually exists).

I agree that in some cases, these groups were actually treated very poorly by some of the other women. (Cultural insensitivity does seem to be a hallmark of US society.) What I don't understand is if there's anything I can do about it, as a white woman, other than draw attention to the occasions.

It occurs to me, somewhat belatedly, that I should have included links to specific examples.

Posted by: Anne at January 24, 2017 10:30 AM