January 21st, 2017, is a day that I hope my children read about in their history books. Today, we watched the largest protest in American history take place in every major city. This was a march for empowerment and equality.
Let’s get one thing straight: I am proud every day of my life to be a female. I am proud that I belong to such a strong group of individuals. I feel privileged every single day that I can make others feel uncomfortable or intimidated because I am passionate. I proudly wear every label that comes with my passion: “bitch,” “annoying,” and of course, my personal favorite, “nasty.” But today, I felt even prouder.
Today, I got to cheer on friends, family members, and women who I don’t even know as they fought for their rights. Today helped restore that fiery feminine passion in me that I felt dimming in the face of our new administration. Today sent a clear message to our government, our nation, and our world as a whole: we will not be silenced.
The fact that the Women’s March on Washington was able to gain such a following shows just how far the problem of gender inequality reaches. This was not just an east coast elite movement. Even Indianapolis, a city that is definitely not known for its progressive spirit, saw thousands of women flooding the streets to let their voices be heard. Men, women, and children alike marched today in nearly 700 cities. Because this is not an isolated incident. This is not a lonely issue. This is a cause that all of us can relate to; it is a feeling of anger and determination we have all felt. It is the desire for change that I have felt burning in me since the day my 14-year-old self had to move spots on a train platform because the way a grown man was looking at me made me feel unsafe. It is the way we learn to walk to our cars at night with our keys between our fingers, and it is the fear we feel when we walk alone in the dark. This is OUR issue and one that we need to keep fighting for.
I know I am going to keep fighting. If today’s demonstrations have shown me anything, it is that our voices together cannot be hushed.
Author G.D. Anderson once said:
Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.
The Women’s March on Washington was our way of letting the entire world see that strength. It was our way of saying, “Hey! We’re still fighting, and we’re not going to give up!” And we won’t. Because we have been fighting this battle for centuries and will continue to fight it until we have won. We will continue to take the labels of “nasty” and “bitch” until we are treated with the same respect a man would get for speaking his mind. We will continue our fight until all women, of ALL races, sexual orientation, cis or trans, can get paid the same amount for working the same job as a white man. Today made a statement, and we must use this attention as fuel to further our progress. In the words of my favorite movie, Hairspray, “We’ve come so far, but we’ve got so far to go.”
I’m ready for the road ahead, and the challenges it may bring. I’m ready for gender equality to be a once-upon-a-time. Let’s keep fighting the power. Let’s keep grabbing back.