More than 200,000 people are estimated to participate in the upcoming “Women’s March on Washington” on January 21, the day after the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump. Thousands more are predicted to participating in “Sister Marches” around the country and world.
While there are a variety of motivations for those who are participating, my oldest daughter and I will be joining in the March for the following reason:
My daughters (ages 8, 1, and 1) will be growing up in a world where their fellow citizens have chosen someone who has shamelessly taunted and bullied women and explicitly confessed to multiple incidents of sexual assault as the chief political representative of their nation’s values and ideals.
This matters. Young girls internalize the popular messages and assumptions of the society that they grow up in.
One message that will now be much easier for young girls to internalize is that their president has little respect for women and that their fellow citizens supported (or at least did not sufficiently oppose) the president-elect’s rhetoric, which included that it is normal and acceptable for powerful men to make sexual advances on women and to publicly disrespect them.
This is why my daughter and I will be participating in our local “Sister March.” My daughters need to see how many other people oppose the president-elect’s rhetoric and behavior regarding women. I want them to know and remember that this was important enough to their father to help send this message.
To my Democratic friends: I urge you make the effort to participate, either in Washington, D.C. or in a local “sister march.” Our president-elect has already indicated that he is not entirely committed to protecting basic Constitutional guarantees of civil liberties, including freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. As Michel Foucault once argued, freedom is not something you have, it’s something you do. Practice your freedom by participating.
To my Republican friends: I know that most of you are good and honorable people who were just as dismayed by Donald Trump’s rhetoric regarding women and sexual assault as anyone. It would be disingenuous to suggest that the Women’s March is a non-partisan or bi-partisan event. This is precisely why nothing would send a stronger message, however, to the president-elect, your members of Congress, your friends and family, and the young girls and women in your lives that you will not tolerate the objectification, disrespect, or sexual assault of women than participating in this march alongside your Democratic friends.
Let’s show the young girls in our lives that they are “valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve [their] own dreams” and that no one, no matter how powerful, can take that away from them.