Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending one of the many women’s protest marches across the country and around the globe. Since I was not able or willing to attend the main march in Washington D.C., I attended the stationary rally here in my own city.
The local turnout was pretty high and featured several different speakers. And no, no one rioted or looted or became violent. Other than a few insecure man-babies on motorcycles who drove past and yelled at us to “go make a sandwich”, it was a very positive experience for me. Everyone was so friendly and approachable. I got to meet and chat with many like-minded men and women of all ages and backgrounds. There were teenage girls, pregnant women, and elderly women in attendance. The elderly women were the most interesting to talk to, because they were old enough to have lived through a time when women had very few rights or freedoms, and these little old ladies were Hell bent on making sure that we don’t go backwards to those past times. There was even a female rabbi there who carried a sign with quotes in both English and Hebrew. She was VERY warm and friendly to everyone; I liked her immediately.
There was a particular group of elderly women there who called themselves the “Raging Grannies”. They were hilarious!! Again, they were “raging” because they already knew what it was like to live in a world where women had no control over their own lives and bodies, and they were angry at the attempts of the Religious Right and some of our government legislators to take us back to those times.
What impressed me most of all was the sheer number of NORMAL, ordinary people who were at this protest rally. Normally whenever I go out anywhere in South Florida, what I mostly see is drug addicts, hookers, pill-popping house music ravers, coke-heads, shallow materialistic robots, and women who have more plastic and silicone in them than actual body tissue. I was so happy and relieved to finally be among some regular, ordinary people just like me!! All I could think was “WHERE have you all been hiding all this time?!?” These are the kind of people I NEED to be around more often. So I’ve decided to do some volunteer work for Planned Parenthood or some other social or political cause in order to seek these people out. Volunteer work is a good way to weed out the good people from the messed up people. And of course, it’s always good to do something to help further a good cause as well. So I’m going to be contacting Planned Parenthood or some other women’s organization to find out how I can volunteer some of my time for them and make a few new friends along the way. If I can spend more time around normal people who aren’t high on drugs 24/7 or asking me to join them in weird group sex orgies with other strangers, then I will enjoy living here more and will be more inclined to stick it out here instead of moving to another state again.
Now of course, not everyone was pleased that I had chosen to participate in one of these women’s protest marches. Many of the backwards-thinking hicks in the small town where I am originally from were particularly butt-hurt and offended that I proudly admitted to attending this rally. Some of them called me an “extremist” and snarled about the pink pussy hats and vagina costumes that some women marchers around the country were pictured wearing. Others accused me of being a “whiny crybaby snowflake”, of course, and sneered that I was “protesting for rights that I already have”. Just for the record, I did not wear a pink pussy hat, I did not dress up as a vagina, and I did not even carry a sign because I didn’t have time to make one before the event. I simply wore my own normal clothing, brought some snacks along with me, and quietly sat in a lawn chair listening to the speakers and chatting with other participants. Yet somehow this still made me an “extremist feminazi”. Okay then….
I’ve seen more than a few women sneer that they did not attend any of the women’s marches “because they love their husbands and children and love being wives and mothers”….which only proves that they are completely ignorant of what feminism actually is. They seem to be completely unaware that it is very quite possible to be both a feminist AND a wife and mother. The two are not mutually exclusive at all. And a good number of men where I am originally from are quite vocal in their beliefs that they have every right to control the bodies of the women they engage in sexual intercourse with, even up to admitting that they feel they have the right to physically restrain/imprison any woman they impregnate in order to keep her from aborting “THEIR unborn child”. These guys literally believe that once they ejaculate into a woman’s body, they now have full control and say over what the woman chooses to do with their semen. And if a woman they impregnate decides that she does not want to gestate and give birth to their spawn for whatever reason, then they believe they have the right to physically restrain her for the entire duration of her pregnancy in order to force her to gestate the pregnancy to term and give birth. I have a female friend who is a lobbyist in Washington D.C., and after witnessing these troglodytes spewing their disgusting beliefs on my Facebook wall about how they own and operate the bodies of any women they impregnate as if they were slaves or chattel, she privately messaged me and asked, “OMG, what is WRONG with those men?!” Unfortunately, that kind of thinking is pretty common in rural backwoods America. It’s one of the reasons why I got the Hell out of there.
The “marching for rights you already have” line is one that I have heard multiple times. I’ve also heard a lot of people, both men and women, ask “What are they marching for?” Well since you have to ask, then you obviously don’t understand at all. So let me spell it out for you as best as I can: Women technically DO have the same rights as men on paper, but not in actual practice. Men and women virtually have all of the same rights, but we do not have the same FREEDOMS at all. There is a big difference between the two, and that is why we were marching. Allow me to give several examples of what I mean by this….
A man can walk into a pharmacy and fill a prescription for Viagra or any other sexual enhancement drug without hassle, delay, or any moral judgments. But several states have “Conscious Clause” laws on the books allowing pharmacists to give moral lectures to women coming in to fill prescriptions for birth control or Plan B, refuse to fill their prescriptions, and in some cases even confiscate their prescription and stop them from being able to get their prescription filled at another pharmacy.
If a single man wants to get a vasectomy, he is allowed to do so without any hassle or questions asked. But if a single woman decides she does not want anymore children or any children at all and asks to have her tubes tied, she is often denied the procedure and told that she will change her mind later or that she “might meet another man later on who will want children”. Her well thought-out decision to be sterilized is denied because some hypothetical man she hasn’t even met yet has the final say over her body. Some doctors even refuse to perform medically necessary hysterectomies on women just because it would “kill their chances of ever having anymore children”.
Men can walk into a sexual health clinic for STD testing & treatment or any sexual related health reason without being harassed or attacked on their way into the building. Women entering a women’s health clinic to get Pap smears and birth control are verbally assaulted and called “sluts” and “baby killers”.
Men can carry condoms around with them and be praised for practicing safe sex and “getting lucky”. But women who want to use hormonal birth control to prevent pregnancy are labeled as “sluts who just need to keep their legs closed.”
A man can openly announce that he does not want to ever have kids, and no one will question or demean his decision. But if a woman openly states that she does not ever want to have kids, she is told she is “selfish”, “immoral”, “evil”, “abnormal”, and “not a real woman”.
A man does not have to worry that he will be fired from his job for having a vasectomy or for becoming a father. But pregnant women and new mothers deal with being fired from their jobs all the time due to their employers not wanting to make temporary accommodations for their pregnancies such as light physical duty restrictions, allowing them extra bathroom breaks, or allowing them to sit down or carry a water bottle to keep hydrated. New mothers are often fired from their jobs for needing to take time off to care for sick babies, doctor appointments, or for not being able to return to work soon enough after having Cesarean Sections or difficult childbirths. There have also been laws proposed in a few states that would allow employers to fire women who use birth control or have ever had an abortion. Thankfully those backwards laws did not pass, but just the fact that they were even introduced in the first place says a lot.
A man can go about his business in open public without having to deal with having vulgar sexual remarks shouted at him from others passing by. He does not have to worry about anyone creepily following him around in public. He does not have to worry about anyone trying to touch him without his permission. He does not have to worry about being grabbed and attacked simply for being a man. And he does not have to fear that ignoring someone’s vulgar remarks or demands to talk may result in said person getting angry and escalating into violence. But women must deal with this reality every day. We have to deal with strange men yelling sexual remarks at us on the streets, demanding that we engage in conversation with them, following us public just to creep us out, and purposely groping us inappropriately on public transportation and other crowded areas. We also have to worry that if we ignore or give the wrong response to a man catcalling us or trying to force us to talk to him, then he may very likely get angry and turn violent by hitting us, sexually assaulting is, or even killing us. Women have been beaten up, sexually assaulted, and even murdered for rejecting the catcalls and sexual advances of men they do not know. I carry a weapon on me everywhere I go for this very reason.
Men are free to wear pretty much whatever they want without being called a “slut” for it. And if they are ever sexually harassed or assaulted, the police never ask them what they were wearing that “provoked” it. Women are constantly judged for our clothing choices and told that we are “asking for” rape due to our clothing choices. I have been told by both men and other women before that I “dress like a slut” and that I deserve to be treated badly by men just because of my clothing choices.
Men do not have to worry about being drugged and raped while out for a few drinks or out on a date with someone new. They do not have to fear that they will be beaten up or killed for saying “No” to sex or sexual advances. They don’t have to be constantly aware of their surroundings in public lest someone might try to overpower them and sexually assault them. Women have to worry about the possibility of rape in the back of our minds all the time. And if we are raped and brave enough to report it to the police, we are either told that we are “making it all up” or that we “asked for it” by dressing too “slutty”, having too many drinks, or for being too friendly or flirty.
THIS is what women have been protesting over the last few days. We are protesting a broken system that still views us as sexual objects and prey. We are protesting a system that does not question a man’s reproductive decisions to get a vasectomy or use Viagra but demonizes women who make any choice other than completely abstaining from sex except when trying to conceive. We are protesting a system that normalizes and excuses violence against women and even BLAMES us for the violence perpetrated against us. We are protesting a system that is still rife with outdated double standards.
We are also protesting against the threats and attempts to deprive us of the reproductive rights we already have by our legislators and new President. We are protesting against those who wish to take away our right to safe and legal abortion and make it more difficult for women to access and afford contraception. We are also protesting against widespread racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia. We are protesting against those that seek to discriminate against racial minorities, LGBT people, and anyone who does not identify as a Christian. We are protesting against a lunatic fringe group of White Supremacist extremists who are trying to come out of hiding from the shadows of history and make a comeback. And we are protesting an incompetent, racist, misogynistic dangerous demagogue whose election to the Presidency may be illegitimate (we now know that Russia, a foreign nation we have not been on the best terms with for a long time, underhandedly meddled with our election in order to ensure his victory) and seeks to impose his will onto the people of this nation by turning it into a Fascist state. Trump and his ilk are dead set on making and keeping the people of this country sick, poor, and uneducated so that we won’t be able to fight back. ALL of this is what we have been protesting against.
And on a related note, I am utterly sick and tired of being called a “snowflake”, a “whiner”, or a “crybaby” every time I attempt to make any kind of intelligent, informed criticism of Trump or his actions. This bullshit nonsense is utterly RIDICULOUS. And ironically, his cult-like fans are actually the biggest “snowflakes” of all since THEY are the ones who immediately fly off the handle whenever anyone so much as even looks at Trump the wrong way. I can’t even mention my own personal thoughts and opinions about Trump, no matter how constructive I present them, without his followers immediately screaming at me, “Trump won, he’s YOUR President now!! Get over it!!” It’s like a knee-jerk reaction with them. Yes, I realize that Trump won the election and is the POTUS now. I’m not disputing that he is President. I am disputing his questionable rhetoric, actions, and policies. This really should not be that difficult for you to understand. I swear to God, if Trump ever succeeded in getting into a nuclear war with another nation and ended up blowing up the entire planet, some charred human skeleton somewhere would turn to another charred skeleton and say, “Hilary lost, Trump won! Get over it!” That’s how relentless and bull-headed stubborn these people are.
And Trump himself is the King of Snowflakes. He cannot take even the slightest hint of criticism without getting butt hurt over it, tweeting about it, and trying to get some type of revenge for it (which is actually a classic symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder). He publicly loses his shit every single week when Saturday Night Live parodies him on their show, which is what they have done with every single President and politician for the last forty years. Funny how no one ever saw President Obama, Bush, or Clinton get their panties into a bunch whenever they were parodied on SNL, yet Trump can’t resist getting his diaper all poopy over it every week. And although I voted for Obama twice and generally considered him to be an OK guy despite not agreeing with some of his and Michelle’s policies, I never flew off the handle and threw a big hissy fit whenever I heard anyone say HORRIBLE things about either of them. I’m level-headed enough to understand that not everyone is going to like any President we have, so I just shook my head at the craziest of the insults I heard about him and let it all go. So it’s clearly not me who is the “whiny snowflake” here. It’s his followers merely projecting their own attitudes and character flaws onto everyone else.
I have a bad feeling this is going to be a rough and scary four years for everyone around the world. The only thought that gives me any comfort is the near certainty that Trump will more than likely be impeached if not assassinated before his term ends. One thing that is for sure is that I am definitely witnessing History in the making right now. I may have some interesting if not frightening stories to tell the younger generations someday if I live to be an old woman.