As a female blogger, I am compelled to put words down on paper, or in this age, I should say on screen, about the Women’s March on January 21st. As a daughter, a mother, and a wife, it is hard to elaborate on the significance of all types of women in different countries, coming together to march for one broad topic: Women. The best way to honor these women is to share the experiences by those who marched.
Sylvie marched in Paris, France with five thousand other women on January the 21st. She is a French woman marching along with American women, 3,828 miles away. This was her way to show solidarity with American women suffering from hatred and bigotry.
“Solidarity will save the world from fascism”. – Sylvie
The United States is heading towards joining a long list of other fascist countries undermining the press. In 2011, Hungary changed their media news laws to control insulting material. Almost a year ago, President Trump delivers a speech while still in his campaign, “I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever meet.” He continued with negative statements about both the New York Times and Washington Post. Then he said, “One of the things I’m gonna do if I win and I hope I do…. I am gonna open up our libel laws so when they write a purposely negative and horrible and false articles. We can sue them and win lots of money. We are going to open up those libel laws.” His anti-press stance has become even strong after being elected. Our country is following in the footsteps of France, Germany, and Greece with the rise of nationalism combined with the centralization of power, leading us on a path to a fascism.
“We were one voice, united and full of hope that our actions will help America and the rest of the world escape from fascism which is rising all over the planet, not only in the United States.” – Sylvie
In Washington, D.C. at least 470,000 people marched towards the National Mall. One of those people was Corey, a Washington D.C. resident. She marched in advocacy for job protection and paid family leave, along with access to safe and affordable healthcare. There was a desire in her to join a diverse group of women fighting President Trump’s threatening rhetoric.
“I marched to prevent that kind of language
from being normalized.”- Corey
Sexism is becoming or may have always been publicly acceptable and normalized in this country. Michelle Letner, from Medina, Ohio, told MSNBC “I have no problem with a man being a man. I like him because he’s real. He’s saying it like it is. If you want to be treated like a lady, act like a lady.” There was no amount of sexist remarks or sexual assault allegations that stopped 42% of American women for voting, for now, President Trump. Lizzie Whitmire, a Dallas resident said to The Guardian “I do not agree with Trump’s language and behavior, and that is definitely not why I voted for him. But I am not worried that Trump’s misogynistic language and sexist behavior will have any interference with the reasons I want him in office. These are no more than actual actions of past presidents who were exactly the same way, just never recorded under a hot mic.” The normalcy of sexism and sexual assault by our national leaders is even more of a reason Corey will be dedicating herself to take continual action to stand up against a country of misogynist predators.
Let us not allow the negativity of why our women had to marched distract from the genuine positivity and solidarity that was present all day. Inspiring acts of humanity could still be found within the crowd. Corey observed an ambulance trying to get through the crowd. A sea of people shoulder-to-shoulder worked together to make room for the ambulance. There were even some people who climbed trees to try to direct traffic.
“The morning of the march, we left to get on the metro to head towards the rally. The wait to get on the metro’s platform was over an hour. We turned around to walk to the next stop that was farther down. Along the way, we encountered many women who we stopped and told about the crowded platform. Soon, we had an entire parade of women walking with us! It was very crowded on the train but people didn’t seem to mind. When we got off the train, everyone was clapping, chanting, and cheering as if we were at a concert.” – Corey
Joining Corey and Sylvie were women from 30 other countries including all the way in Australia. Polly marched with the rest of the world in Melbourne, Australia. She marched because Hillary was not able to shatter the highest and hardest glass ceiling, another heartbreaking experience of the best woman for the job-losing out to an inferior man. “Trump is everyone’s problem,” says Polly as she describes her motivation to join seven thousand other people. Polly takes to heart Hillary’s slogan ‘I’m with her’. It has applied to her real life helping women fight back after being victimized by misogyny. A study completed in 2014 found 16.4 percent of women in Australia are victims of sexual assault; however, the average rate globally is only 7.2 percent. American women suffer from the same high rates of sexual assault. A few years before Australia’s study, a study found 18 percent of American women have suffered from sexual assault. Almost always sexual assault occurs from someone the victim knows. If our nations want to keep us safe, we need to focus and criminalize the rape culture. The women’s march shows us that we can come together to bring these issues to the forefront. We can make a change in our cultures.
“Looking around and seeing women of all ages, colors, religions, races, political viewpoints and backgrounds marching for their rights.” – Polly
Back in the United States, 9,763 miles away from Polly marching in Washington DC, was Kaylan, an Ohio resident who traveled over six hours to march in the capital of the United States. After the election, there was nothing that could deter her from making her voice heard. There was an overall anti-trump feel to the march described Kaylan. The city of Washington, DC rang out with the words ‘Love Trumps Hate’. There are so many issues facing women that it is time for women and men to come together and transverse the political spectrum.
“There was a small group of teenage boys, older, though, maybe 17 or 18 that obviously made quick signs saying things like ‘My mom is my Hero’, ‘I march for my Mom’. I loved those boys and the fact that they were there made me so happy. “– Kaylan
Men could be found across the United States and across the ocean supporting the women’s march. Louise was one of the 100,000 marchers in London. While marching, she saw men in toe with women. One young man was holding a banner that read, ‘I am a feminist’.
“I found out about a husband who learned to knit and make a pussy hat because his wife’s arthritis meant she could not.” – Louise
One of Louise’s fondest memories was marching alongside a young mother with her baby. There are many rigid stereotypes women across the world must break through, especially breastfeeding in public. The United States surgeon general in 2011 declared breastfeeding was the new norm for America. Well before 2011, breastfeeding in public has been a hot topic. The number of women who breastfeed their children is about 80 percent; yet, the debate still continues.
“I was marching alongside a young mother who at one point had to march and breastfeed at the same time. Incredible!” – Louise
Alex was another marcher in London. She was there due to an escalating desire to communicate her political opposition; therefore, aligning herself with the women’s march. Her sentiment echoed throughout the 2.5 million women and men who marched in 673 rallies across 32 countries on January the 21st.