White Girl Cliché and the Women’s March on Washington

It’s a strange, strange thing to have a president in office who I know doesn’t respect me. I will never meet America’s new president (thank God) but I was in the same city as him this weekend and I thought about it. Would he grab me by the pussy? No, probably not. An absurd question and absurd answer. That’s the lowest of low bars.

In the eyes of the leader of my country, I am nothing but a chunk of flesh with an assigned number 1-10. He’s made it very, very clear.

You don’t care about the rights of things you assign numbers to. Just ask Jean Valjean (24601) or, yes, anyone who knows anything about the Holocaust.

I was at the Women’s March on Washington over the weekend.

womens march washington dc crowds

March by the numbers?

1 in 5 women will be raped in her life time.
Black women make 65 cents for every 82 cents a white woman makes, and one dollar a white man does.
53% of white women voted for Trump.

I’m a minority on 2 of the above statistics.

womens march washington dc cliche

For actual minorities? 94% of black women voted for Hillary.
White ladies, we fucked this one up.

It’s Wednesday, the march was Saturday. I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled to write this post. I call myself a New York Cliché, occasionally a blogger cliché. I have no trouble laughing and embracing stereotypes. Most of the time.

But if there’s one cliché that I would really love avoid, it’s the White Girl Cliché.

womens march washington dc friends

I know, I know, says the white girl who attended the march with all her white friends. Who has no problem throwing up a peace sign.

I’m shrouded by a whole lotta white girl privilege. Knowing and acknowledging that is at least a crucial start to avoiding the cliché. My president mostly makes me feel disgusting and ashamed. It’s not fun, but it’s alllll relative. A number 1-10 is pie compared to being labeled a “rapist“. A piece of cake compared to being registered and officially assigned a number because of my religion. I shouldn’t have to EVER worry about my body being violated, but even that’s a goddamn walk in the park compared to worrying my entire family might be deported. A summer breeze compared to worrying about being arrested or assaulted for using the bathroom.

Hey, when I compare it to the thought I might be murdered whenever I’m stopped by a police officer, having the government control my reproduction is sunshine and mother f-ing rainbows.

womens march washington dc signs

I can’t imagine what it’s like to live under the weight of all those things. Let alone face the prejudices that are just part of daily existence for women of color and those who don’t fit the traditional gender binary.  I can’t imagine it. I don’t have  to imagine the unending strength and bravery.: I see it. Women of color have been fighting for their rights for years. I, giving you another reason to roll your eyes and say “White Privileged Cliché”, have not exactly been standing beside them in support. Metaphorically, I might want to argue but, HA! I know that doesn’t mean shit!

womens march washington dc girl

We are all in this together. But we don’t all share the same experiences, struggles, and feelings together. I know that. I’m trying to get better at listening and understanding my privilege. There’s been a lot of talk about this surrounding this Women’s March on Washington:

Women’s March On Washington: To White Women Who Were Allowed To Resist While We Survived Passive Racism 

Who Didn’t Go To the Women’s March Matter More Than Who Did

What happened when I took a “White Women Elected Trump” sign to the Women’s March

We Need to Talk About This Issue With the Women’s March

One Indigenous Women’s Take on the Women’s March on Washington (Click through all the photos. It’s eye opening how rude and exclusionary we can be without realizing.)

womens march washington dc blm immigrants

“Does the world need another white girl’s perspective of the Women’s March on Washington?” I ask myself as I write this post.

The only things I can really claim expertise:
1. My life as a White Girl
2. Writing blog posts

The Women’s March on Washington was not perfect. For many of us it’s a start, we’re learning, we’re trying. They say 80% is just showing up, right? Fake (being woke) it ’til you wake it? (Obviously, only a white girl would say that.) If we continue showing up, the vital 20% will follow.

Above all, the Women’s March was hope. Hope in the numbers this time: millions of people showed up and protested all over the world. Hope for the first time since I saw the Empire State Building flashing red on election night.

womens march washington dc equality

womens march washington dc sign

“Sorry” and “excuse me” and “Do you need help?” and “Are you ok?” where constant refrains. So were:

“MY BODY, MY RIGHTS”
“WE WILL NOT GO AWAY, WELCOME TO YOUR FIRST DAY”
“Show me what democracy looks like! THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!”
“BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

womens march washington dc steps

Diversity may have been part of the struggle of this march. Some people left oblivious, “I’m white and I didn’t vote for Trump #NotAllWhiteWomen!” Some still refuse to listen. Others are listening more, to a conversation that started long ago, yes.

But as they say, “Better late than pregnant!” (In Trump’s America especially….)
Sorry, sorry! I mean “NEVER”! BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

If I am forced to think about my white privilege even a fraction as often as people of color are forced to think about their race…I’m sure it will completely change my world view.

In another regard, there is no way the diversity of the Women’s March on Washington can be questioned:

womens march washington dc baby

Age diversity. The age range of marchers was as wide spread as you can get. It was awesome to see tiny tots on their parents shoulders and women who vividly remember the 1950s we are so desperate to never return to.

womens march washington dc teens

womens march washington dc ladies

Huge diversity in signs too. Every color and for every cause you could possibly imagine. People got amazingly creative with their signs. Some hilarious, some beautiful, some angry and defiant.

womens march washington dc beautiful

womens march washington dc free melania

womens march washington dc many signs

Diversity in the shades of pink yarn knitted by hand to create pussyhats. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pussyhat phenomenon by now. Obviously inspired president’s infamous quote, “Grab ’em by the pussy.”

womens march washington dc monument

They unified the crowd and were exclusively handmade. In America. A powerful contrast in every way to Trump’s iconic “Make America Great Again” hats. Made in factories over seas.

We saw plenty of those hats, saw the contrast up close. With the inauguration the day before, plenty of Trump’s biggest supporters were still in town. Here are two, standing in the middle of my friends carrying flowers (a nod to the suffragettes).

womens march washington dc trum

It was weird. This picture is weird. But it’s also hopeful. I saw plenty of Trump supporters but felt no aggression from them, not even passively. We respected each other. We said “excuse me” when we passed each other in the bathroom. Proves Obama’s point from his farewell address: if we all get off social media, there’s hope for bridging the huge divide in this country.

womens march washington dc capitol

This is what America looks like. This is democracy. I’ve been ashamed of my country and of white women who look just like me since November 9th. But the Women’s March on Washington gave me a lot of hope. We have a lot to learn, a long, long way to go, but I am now confident that progress will continue these next four years. It just won’t be as easy as it usually is for privileged people like me.

womens march washington dc more signs

womens march washington dc mint

womens march washington dc freedom

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

This statue says it all. I’ve never been very vigilant before. Oh sure, I’ve gone to a protest here and there, I read the news sporadically. This is a beginning for me: CONSTANT VIGILANCE. Of my government and my privilege. Inspired by this statue and, of course, Voldermort.

Oh, and the Constitution of the United States of America:

womens march washington dc constitution

To avoid the final White Girl Cliché of marching, writing a blog post, then doing nothing else, here are resources to stay involved, stay active:

Women’s March 10 Actions : 100 Days 

Join the movement with Movement Match 

Join the movement: United States of Women

Educate yourself. Visit the Black Lives Matter website, this may be the place to start: 11 Major Misconceptions About the Black Lives Matter Movement

womens march washington dc kids

DID YOU MARCH? PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE COMMENTS!
ARE YOU GETTING INVOLVED? PLEASE LEAVE MORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED IN THE COMMENTS!
I CAN CeRTAINLY USE MORE WAYS TO EDUCATE MYSELF AS WELL!
And iF YOU TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH MY BLOG POST, LET ME KNOW. Sharing thoughts like these make me anxious, but being uncomfortable is important these days. Start a dialogue?

womens march washington dc flowers

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

12 thoughts on “White Girl Cliché and the Women’s March on Washington

  1. I didn’t know you were down here! Not that it mattered — I got there so late I couldn’t find any of my groups of friends haha. I also wrote about the march on my blog, but one thing I didn’t say…white men holding signs shaming white women for voting for trump or not turning out for BLM filled me with rage. Like really guys? You couldn’t just wear a BLM shirt? You had to come to a women’s march to be critical? Typical. White. Male.
    I’m going through the hours of video I have from Friday and Saturday this week. I’ll keep an eye out for you!

    1. Oh my gosh, it was imposssible to find anyone- yeah, I didn’t even try to try! Hope you ended up finding at least A friend thought!
      Ew. Ew! Ewww! I didn’t see any white men with signs like that. The hypocrisy would’ve made me so angry. Grosssss and yeah, so f-ing CLICHE.
      Do you have plans for the hours of video?? I highly doubt I’m in any of it!

  2. Wow wow wow wow WOOOOOOWWWWWWW thank you so much for writing this, it is an honor to know you.

    Well, sort of.
    As a fellow white girl blogger, I mean.
    And thanks sincerely for going down to Washington.
    Meghan Sara recently posted…The Beer FairyMy Profile

    1. Gahhhh THANK YOU! It was a little anxiety inducing to write this post but I’m glad I did, this kind of feedback is everything.

      Fellow white girl blogger, fellow New Yorker, fellow former theatre kid, we’re about as close as “knowing” as you can get never having met, right? Haha. And your more supportive of me than plenty of people who legit *know* me, so…that means a lot 🙂
      And thank YOU for covering NYC while I was in DC!

  3. You are the ultimate personification of Hillary supporting white women in pink pussy hats patting themselves on the back for being good girls & earning a badge by doing a well orchestrated, civilized, peaceful march under police protection. Go ahead, drink your Starbucks latte, leave a mountain of garbage that the DC sanitation workers lucky enough to have a minimum wage job will clean up. All the classy white women celebrities like Gloria Steinem, Madonna & Meryl who swooned for “it’s my turn” Hillary & her blind followers who refused to see what an egotistical self-serving, warmongering corrupt politician she is, you are just as much responsible for electing Trump as the white women who voted for him.

    1. Hi Nancy,
      According to Glassdoor, National Parks maintenance workers make around $18/hour, which is well above minimum wage. Large groups of peopleall in one place,
      like for an inauguration, football game, or Brad Paisley concert, create garbage.
      Hillary supporters aren’t just blind but have all sorts of disabilities or no impairments at all. It’s nice for us, because she doesn’t make fun of us either way.
      Enjoy your day.

      1. Thanks so much Julia. Your response to Nancy is far better than anything I would’ve come up with. Tricky to respond to a comment from someone who clearly didn’t take the time to actually read my blog, ya know?

        Seems you’re better at dueling trolls than Harry and Hermione were in that first Harry Potter book. Brilliant and quite a useful skill to have in this day and age… 🙂

  4. Hi Mary Lane, I am a WOC of color and I agree with most of the statements in your post. I am trying to stay vigilant and positive. But every day of this week that we have had this president there has been more and more reason to not feel safe or hopeful in my home country. The racism and intimidation that used to be just under the surface, has now bared its teeth for me. Yes, I agree that learning about BLM is a major step, I think also learning Islam and talking to Muslims (since that is the newest bullseye) is another, and having interaction and conversation, with others than you are used to is even better. And I don’t mean to lecture you but to walk in a person of color’s shoes is greater than a Jane Elliot seminar. But yes those seminars are a start for understanding. For me personally, I’d appreciate the space to vent and unload my experience without the eye=rolling or the defensiveness, being heard is so simple and necessary. We are so used to being gas-lighted. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much for this wonderfully thoughtful comment. Feel free to lecture me all you want! I’m asking for it! I’m super grateful for your perspective and feedback! Being heard IS so simple, necessary, and at the same bizarrely difficult. What you say is so important “having interaction and conversation, with others than you are used to is even better”, we are so lucky to have that opportunity in NYC. Ugh, it is getting harder and harder every day to be positive. Hope you’re still managing.

  5. I just saw your reply. And I wanted to continue the conversation right after you published this. I didn’t really want to come off as lecturing. Sometimes the easiest way to empathize is to talk and as a woman, I feel that need all the time because women’s voices are so easily dismissed. Thanks for responding!

    1. Coming off as lecturing was totally a fear of mine too!! This is so so so spot on: “Sometimes the easiest way to empathize is to talk and as a woman, I feel that need all the time because women’s voices are so easily dismissed.” Definitely a reason I keep blogging…and try to occasionally summon the courage to go beyond cookies and bad dates! <3

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