Why I Hope the Women's Marches Matter

I marched in the Womxn's March in Seattle last Saturday. It was important to me to march. It was important to me to show my children how we stand up for ourselves. It was important to me to come together with other women and show that we matter. It was important to say that we will fight. It was important to remind myself that I’m not alone.

It was also important to wear this hat at the march, a version of which is available at the HRC site with proceeds going to LGBTQIA community! Let's get matchy!

But the marches were not without their problems. A lot of people felt left out. A lot of people felt understandably angry that so many millions of women were willing to march for themselves, but hadn’t been willing to march for others. A lot of people felt like these marches were pointless.

I understand. And I don’t disagree with any of the ideas but the last one. I think there was a vital point.

These women's marches have been important for a lot of people around the world. For a lot of people, their feminism has just been jumpstarted. For a lot of people, their feminism has finally become intersectional. For a lot of people, because their rights have been threatened, they are FINALLY paying attention to the way others’ rights have been threatened for decades.

Is this the ideal way to get woke? No. Is it a great way to ensure that previously blind folks, who’ve had the comfort of resting in their privilege, are finally seeing a tiny sliver of what others have been living with in order to stay woke? Hell yes.

Image Source: Loryn Brantz of Feminist Baby, who has a new book coming out that we probably all need.

It’s a start. No one (thoughtful) is pretending that the women's marches were a fix. They were a start. A beginning. A rising to action by folks who previously rested on their laurels. It is my greatest hope that this action continues. It is my greatest hope that seeing so many people coming together across the world to support each others’ rights is meaningful. It is my greatest hope that this means people are willing to fight. Not just for themselves, but for everyone. And this is the most important thing that I hope will come out of these marches. I know it is profoundly hurtful to see people who have been silent about Black Lives Matter or Disability Rights or LGBTQIA Rights or Indigenous Rights or or or be suddenly loud and indignant. I can only hope like hell that this was the impetus for these folks. That people will now realize that it’s not just women's rights that are human rights. If you believe in fighting for women's rights (and dammit, you better), then you damn well better believe in fighting for the rights of all people, and fighting especially hard for the marginalized groups in our society.

Yes, sir, you will.

I’ve listened and watched as folks try to defend themselves against critiques of the marches, or of other movements that, often unintentionally, displace other groups.

If it makes you bristle when people express hurt, just listen. Just figure out why it makes you defensive. That’s where you’ll learn. That’s where we all learn. None of us can do this alone. None of us should have to. We have to work together and we have to work for each other. This was a beautiful coming together across the globe. Now let’s keep coming together. Show up at the next Black Lives Matter event. Show up to support LGBTQIA rights. Show up to defend and fight for the rights of the disabled, for immigrants, for refugees, for the Indigenous community. Let’s keep learning and growing and listening. Let’s all keep fighting for each other. We have to stick together.

About Shannon

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