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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.)
“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.
“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.”
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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).
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.
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.
“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:
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:
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
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?