Yesterday, people around the country and around the world marched. France, London, Portugal, Canada, here in the United States, and more. It was beautiful, and there are so many inspiring photos circulating online, yet some still see it as ugly. There is a Facebook status circulating amongst my family and friends that, while I know it is not directly aimed at me, hurts:
I am not a "disgrace to women" because I don't support the women's march. I do not feel I am a "second class citizen" because I am a woman. I do not feel my voice is "not heard" because I am a woman. I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman. I do not feel that I "don't have control of my body or choices" because I am a woman. I do not feel like I am "not respected or undermined" because I am a woman. I am not a "victim" because you say I am.
I AM a woman.
I can make my own choices.
I can speak and be heard.
I can VOTE.
I can work if I want.
I can stay home if I want.
I control my body.
I can defend myself.
I can defend my family.
There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this world but MYSELF.
I do not blame my circumstances or problems on anything other than my own choices or even that sometimes in life, we don't always get what we want. I take responsibility for myself.
If you want to speak, do so. But do not expect for me, a woman, to take you seriously wearing a pink va-jay-jay hat on your head and screaming profanities and bashing men.
If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not that the opportunity or means to have their voices heard.
1) Saudi Arabia, women can't drive, no rights and their head must always be covered.
2) China and India, infantcide of baby girls.
3) Afghanistan, unequal education rights.
4) Democratic Republic of Congo, where rapes are brutal and women are left to die, or HIV infected and left to care for children alone.
5) Mali, where women can not escape the torture of genital mutilation.
6) Pakistan, in tribal areas where women are gang raped to pay for men's crime.
7) Guatemala, the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages.
8) Or the 7 year old girls being sold or married off to 60 year old men, Or the millions of women sold and bought into sex trafficking.
And that's just a few examples.
So when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don't have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast, and it's like a vacation away that they have paid for to get there...
This WOMAN does not support it.
I'm not sure that my stance on all this is fully known. I'm not sure that anyone really cares to know, and that's okay. But it feels reckless of me not to speak from my heart, and try to make others understand that my feelings and opinions come from a place of love, in a time where love is sorely needed. So, in response to that Facebook status, written from my bed on this rainy Sunday morning:
I don't like this feeling. Feeling like the minority. Feeling like the outcast in my family. But in proportion to my life, this feeling is only a blip on the map. For some, it is the whole map. And I will follow their lead, and not let the words of others, even those I love, make me feel that my thoughts and opinions are any less valid than their own. Yesterday's march was a beautiful show of solidarity between women, men, and children, of all races and walks of life, to make it known that we are together through this next phase in America's life, and that we will not allow for anyone's rights to be stripped away. This time of change is frightening for many, and to have so many people come together in a show of support for one another is a beautiful thing, and I am honored to have witnessed this piece of history. I am not an angry woman. But I am angered when I am called "crazy" and "whiny" for wanting to ensure that I, and my friends, sisters, future daughters, and all fellow humans, are treated equally, when I have experienced firsthand that that is not always the case. I am angered when I am made to feel that my concerns aren't valid when compared to women's issues in other countries, and when it is insinuated that wanting equal rights for women here means I am not concerned with the rest of the world. I am not "screaming profanities or bashing men," as I have been portrayed by some. Yesterday's march was not anti-Trump, it was pro-women. Yesterday's march was not about anger and aggression, it was about hope for the future. I will not sit back and accept that "we don't always get what we want." I will always, always advocate and fight for equality and kindness and basic human decency.