Why The Women’s March 2017 Is Necessary And Relevant
By Cara Sutra
The day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States of America saw another huge event take place. For some, this secondary event was undoubtedly connected to the first, required in its own right but never more so; for others it was simply an unnecessary knee-jerk reaction. The Women’s March 2017 has proven to be quite controversial, and personally I find that very surprising.
On January 21st 2017, 5 million women around the world marched as a form of protest. To be heard, to be listened to, to be respected. They marched for their lacking rights and for global equality. It wasn’t only women marching either, there were persons of all genders and identities.
Since then, I have seen plenty of opposition to the Women’s March (doing the rounds on social media and showcased in the comments after this spectacular article). Yes, the usual MRAs and MCPs and all that, but also from women. Comments range from an innocent if naïve, “but why was the Women’s March even needed anyway?” to a downright aggressive, “none of you marched for me, I’m equal in every way and the Women’s March was totally unnecessary.”
As a self-employed white woman, the mother of two children, living in a monogamous relationship with her male partner in rural England, I feel equal and respected. I feel that I have rights, and every time I’ve needed something from society, society has said, “ok then.” I’m able to apply for jobs, able to walk into a hospital and request help for medical problems, able to go to the doctor or dentist whenever I want or need. Gender seems irrelevant here, to me. I can arrange an interview or an appointment or a meeting with whichever companies, health services or government offices I require.
It would be easy for me to think there’s no problems in the world when it comes to women’s voices not being heard, their rights not being respected and gender equality. Because in my little world, everything’s pretty much fine & dandy thank-you-very-much.
Let’s apply the same rationale to other issues. Issues which undoubtedly affect areas of the world.
– Because I have enough food to eat, I don’t believe there’s any problem with food shortage in the world.
– I have clean water to drink, so everyone in the world must be able to access clean water.
– I’m able to request medical healthcare whenever I need it, therefore everyone in the world has their health needs attended to accordingly.
The logic is obviously flawed.
Why Campaign For Anything?
If, as a woman, you are opposed to the Women’s March because you personally do not or have not experienced any of the issues the march highlighted, you are being short-sighted. In fact I’d go so far as to say you are being selfish. Just because you, in your own little feathered nest of western equality*, don’t meet legal blocks or have rights denied in your day-to-day life, it doesn’t mean it’s the same for all other women.
And your argument against the Women’s March being that you personally didn’t need or want help? Let’s look at other awareness raising, fund raising, life changing campaigns. Do we get involved with Children in Need merely because we have children who are in need? Are donations given to Comic Relief because we hope to be the beneficiary of donated funds? When any of the cancer research/awareness campaigns begin, do we campaign because we have cancer ourselves?
We are motivated to join the causes because we are all people. Empathy moves us to get involved, to get active, to donate or to protest. Even if the motivation is that the specific issue could affect you one day, it’s better than nothing. Better than turning your nose up at any of these campaigns and deciding that they are entirely irrelevant and unnecessary.
So why do it on the subject of women’s rights and global equality?
Fight For Global Rights & Equality
Women around the world do struggle in their everyday lives due to their gender. The equality and rights you have as a woman in your comparatively privileged life is the irrelevant thing here. Women who haven’t experienced the negative effects of a pay-gap marched. Those who have never faced the personal & legal repercussions of the difficult abortion decision, marched. Women who have never been assaulted by either a guy in the street, office, or in their own home, marched. White women who have never experienced one iota of racial prejudice against them, marched. Just because these women haven’t experienced the difficulties other women have, and do, doesn’t mean they snubbed the march or saw it as unnecessary.
I believe the Women’s March was and is necessary. It will always be necessary to protest against the unequal and disrespectful personal and legal treatment of women until such day as this inequality and disrespect ends – for all women. Not just some. Not just me, cosy and safe in my privilege and feeling everything’s right with the world.
The Trump Trigger
Although the Women’s March was seen by many as a consequence of Donald Trump’s inauguration, I believe this was merely one reason. The marches were required in any case. However, a man becoming president who believes that grabbing a woman by the pussy is fine, that the best company is a ‘piece of ass’, who has indicated that he is anti-abortion, who threatens LGBTQ rights, who looks at a ten year old girl and imagines himself dating her when she is legal, who can talk about his own daughter in a dating context and who regularly belittles women? Yes, you’re damn right it’s a trigger. This is now the so-called leader of the so-called free world.
Are you not concerned that this guy can influence and instigate legislation which would harm women’s rights? Does it not terrify you that such a man** is sitting round with other guys of the same ilk debating issues pertaining to women and their bodies right now?
It certainly terrifies me.
Despite living in privileged English suburbia, it’s very easy for me to see why the Women’s March was not only timely but necessary. What I can’t understand is why it’s so difficult for some women to see beyond their own privileged circumstances and empathise with women who don’t have it anywhere near as good.
*Not that in our western culture women really *are* equal, but it’s easier to fool yourself that we are
**Loosest definition of the word
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