I didn’t “march” this year, either, and here are a few reasons why:
- It was my daughter’s 7th birthday. At her request, this time I did not drag her to yet another action (which she generally attends enthusiastically, but there at times when she’s like “oh god mom, again?”). This time, I celebrated the little rebel girl my wife and I are raising, and threw her a birthday party.
- I am a queer woman married to another woman, and our politics are a little more radical in stance than the general “white lady talking about democrats and polls” that represents in our local marches. Lots of these white ladies are friends and community (and I even knitted their pussyhats for them, lol) — but since we’re familiar with typical “white feminism”, we also know that most of them go home at night and don’t really think about what life might be like for us any other time than a march, when we’re out there screaming about our rights and the additional difficulties we might face.
- I’m not equal yet, no. No, no I’m not. The fact that I can even be married is a right I’ve only seen in my lifetime, and yes, as a woman who lived in New York City for many, many years, I still brace myself when I have to walk past the local dive bar at night, and I still hold my keys through my fingers when I feel a certain kind of discomfort. I don’t think a Women’s March is going to change that, though — that is a massive cultural and spiritual shift that I probably won’t be alive to see. Maybe my daughter will, if there’s a planet left for her to live on (so here on the homefront, we’re teaching sustainability, simplicity and self-sufficiency, because we haven’t quite given up hope yet).
- In my town, instead of calling it a Women’s March, it was called a “Solidarity March” and one of our most hated city officials, a man, was asked to speak. Many people spoke up in disagreement before the event, and a simple phone call telling him to stay home would have been all it took to make this event even slightly more inclusive. That did not happen, causing even deeper divide in our community as now, many of the people who planned to march were doing so despite the discomfort felt by women who were insulted or hurt by this man’s presence. This is the same man, an attorney who has sat on our city council for TWO DECADES, who, as mayor in situ while our actual mayor was out of town on vacation for four days, pulled what basically amounted to a coup, reversing the city’s position on the environmental impact report of Crystal Geyser bottling company, which is trying to steal water and pollute here in this pristine mountain town, and which we have held off, so far, for four years. He also has a history of blatant misogyny.
- Regardless of this ridiculous mess, over 300 people showed up to “march”. While the city official was heckled a little during his speech on the history of the women’s movement (!), I could not associate myself with this, at all — for what I hope are now very obvious reasons. I didn’t march this year, and it’s not because I think I’m “equal” and don’t need feminism. Oh no, no no no no — I, and so many others, need feminism more than ever right now — and we need it to be well-thought out, continuous, and intersectional, not just some yearly statement of “solidarity” before everyone goes home to their own struggles and forgets about the additional issues present for women of color, trans women, indigenous women, queer women, trafficked women, incarcerated women, addicted women, women on welfare, women who do things for a living you might not agree with, women who need abortions, and women who might not have have “pink” pussies, until it’s time to go vote Democrat again.
So, this all being said, don’t knock me for not “marching” this year — my whole damn life is a “march”, even in this tiny little mountain town in the far reaches of northern California where I’d much rather just be hiking the PCT with my wife, daughter and dogs. I hear you, my fellow sisters, I love you, and I thank you, immensely, for at the very least, waking up to the fact that we need to reclaim our streets, so to speak — but we can, and need to, go so much deeper now. Let’s do this.