I am on a post-march high right now, and I’m going to take advantage of that to write.
Just six days ago, on MLK Day, I was nervous. We were still living in a pre-Trump America, but the fear of what this country would look like under Cheeto Satan kept me up at night. That’s a lie. It was really the opposite. I felt so helpless and depressed, I slept more than usual, dreaming of a third term for Obama, wishing Hillary’s hard work hadn’t been squandered by the electoral college.
Friday was a bleak day. It rained, I cried a bit, I broke my New Year’s Resolution to stay out of comment sections and my heart hurt for this country and the idiots we give power to online and irl.
But then I marched yesterday. With 750,000 Angelenos. And my attitude changed.
Before the march, there was a lot of talk about what the goals were and what everyone’s “place” was in the march. People questioned if the goal was to just make everyone happy for one day before facing the next four years or if it was to actually make a change, to advance feminism, to protect women’s rights.
I was nervous because there were white women pulling out of the march because they felt attacked, women of color pulling out because they felt underrepresented, and always the threat of those emboldened by hate to come and cause trouble for a group of people they don’t respect.
I quickly realized that I had nothing to fear. The march was peaceful, the people were loving, but the message was clear. We were not there to make people happy for one day.
We were there to stand in solidarity for women’s rights.
We were there to unify communities all over the world.
We were there for women.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but seeing women from the generations before me marching right alongside me is both empowering and heartbreaking. They are still protesting the same shit they protested decades ago. Every day, a new fight. But those women persevered and so will we. The older women marching gave me so much life in that crowd. I saw hope in those women that we will take over this fight.
But when will we stop fighting ourselves and move forward together?
This morning, I woke up ready to fight the patriarchy. I was ready to stand with all my sisters against sexism of any kind, against violence towards women, against rape culture, against anti-trans hate, I was ready for it all.
But my first fight wasn’t with a minion of Salmon Voldemort. It was with another woman, another feminist who definitely marched alongside me yesterday (figuratively, because I’ve never met her in person).
I read a post from Raka Ray not unlike anything I’d seen leading up to the march. It was a post addressed to our white allies participating in the march reminding them of some truths. Like the fact that white feminism is white supremacy, or that Susan B. Anthony argued for suffrage on the grounds that white women are more valuable than any black person. The fact that trans-exclusionary feminism runs rampant through our ranks and that the majority of white women voted for Sunkist Stalin.
A young white woman did not agree. She said the things stated were inaccurate and that it was all bullshit. She didn’t want to be held accountable for the actions of other white women. Before you roll your eyes into the back of your head, I understood. White people are so annoyed by the fact that they are sometimes held accountable for the actions of other white people they don’t even agree with.
Yeah, they need to get over it.
We all face those same issues. When there is a shooting, I pray it’s not a black person because I don’t want to feel that blame. When a man was taken off my flight to Ethiopia, Nigerians and Ethiopians speculated on where he was from so we knew if the blame and suspicion would follow us. It happens to everyone, all the time.
But the point of the post wasn’t to get white women to take responsibility for the actions of other white women. Ray said “If you want to be an ally, the first step is to never forget.” That’s all. If you want to call yourself WOKE, then you have to actually be woke. We all falter sometimes, but it’s important to take a step back and regroup so we can keep working together. It is all too possible to forget women of color and LGBTQ+ women in the fight. It is unconscious. I do it too. Sometimes if I see a black woman on a panel, I consider it diverse, forgetting my Asian sisters, my Latina sisters, my LGBTQ+ sisters. But I’ve started to take a conscious look at everything I’m involved in to make sure that if someone isn’t represented by a person, then the people in charge are bringing up all issues. We can’t keep calling ourselves feminists if we don’t acknowledge the ways all women are attacked. Intersectional feminism should be the only feminism.
No matter how the present looks, I have hope for the future. I saw so many little feminists following their parents through the streets of DTLA yesterday, all gearing up to make the future brighter. When I am an old woman, I hope the fight is over. But if it’s not, I know that those behind me will continue to fight for women. And I will continue to march. All day, every day, until we reach our goal and then some.
The Future is Female.