You Call Us Malcontents And Dissidents Like It's A Bad Thing

01/27/2017 01:10 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2017
Women’s March, Washington, D.C. January 21, 2017. At the White House.
Tasha Withrow
Women’s March, Washington, D.C. January 21, 2017. At the White House.

A few friends of mine and I attended the Women’s March in D.C. on the 21st and it was one of the most empowering experiences I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of. I haven’t been to a large protest since Bush’s second inauguration in January of 2005, so it’s been quite a while since I really felt like I was a part of something that was trying to ignite change. Throughout the day I continued to be amazed as to how many people were there and seeing the oceans of people gave me goosebumps. Finally, I thought enough people were getting pissed off and ready to stand up for what we felt was important and right. And I wasn’t completely wrong, there ended up being millions of people marching all over the world.

But then came the naysayers. Men and women alike.

I expected some resistance over the march, but not to the caliber of which it hit. What has bothered me more is the amount of women attacking other women and denouncing any and sometimes all affiliations with other women and or “feminism”. There were women who came forward to tell us that we do not represent them and that the march was not their march. They have every right to feel that way, and it is because of men and women of past generations marching over and over that they are afforded that opinion and ability to express it. Because before, we had to ask permission to speak such things.

Without resistance and without dissent, we wouldnt have the ability to express our individual thoughts. So for that, I say thank you to the women (and men) before me that continued to march and not back down. I say thank you to the naysayers, who give us even more of a reason to continue to push back and give us more passion to fight. You are what fuels us.

I am under no illusion that things are better than what they were decades ago. I also know that we still have a lot of work to do. Institutional sexism and racism are still thriving and creating hurdles for millions of Americans. You don’t have to believe it for it to be true or not, it’s there and it’s happening. It’s a matter of opening your eyes and your mind to new perceptions and the world around you. Just because you haven’t personally experienced it, or because those around you in your small little world haven’t experienced it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t real and that it isn’t happening.

I’m grateful that there are women in our country that have never had to experience the things that millions of people marched for last weekend, and will continue to march for. I am also grateful that women here do not experience many of the atrocities that women in the developing world endure. But that does not mean I don’t have reasons to fight for what is right here and it doesn’t mean that there aren’t things here that need to be addressed and fixed. I live here and if we have the opportunity to make life better HERE, then we should. But I digress....

Women’s March, D.C.
Tasha Withrow
Women’s March, D.C.

Lastly, as many women have said before, I refuse to apologize for my behavior and I refuse to conform to what you feel like we should be doing. I refuse to fit in your little box of what a woman is supposed to be. I refuse to not say the word FUCK or PUSSY because you feel like it isnt lady like. For too long we have stood to the side and allowed others to tell us how to act, how to speak, and to smile more often.

Well, FUCK THAT.

I have heard over and over again since last weekend that the signs and how women were dressed were “so inappropriate and vulgar” that it took away from the message of the march. I keep hearing about the speech Madonna and Ashley Judd gave, but I haven’t heard a thing about the speech Angela Davis gave. I don’t hear about the signs being held up that represented real problems that women, people of color, the LGBT community, Muslims, and other disenfranchised human beings experience on a daily basis. All I’ve heard is the fact that people are offended over the word fuck and a couple people dressed as vaginas. And I think that’s because you don’t want to focus on the real problem and you don’t want to admit that there is a problem.

Women’s March, D.C.
Tasha Withrow
Women’s March, D.C.

I wrote an article before the march outlining a few reasons why I would be attending, and I feel like that list has grown exponentially. Just in the first week of his presidency, Donald Trump has signed executive orders and verbalized plans that have instilled fear into so many different communities around the country. And that’s just the beginning. If you have a few minutes to gaze at some of the bills that have been introduced and are awaiting votes from the house and senate, do so. It’s pretty scary. Unless of course, “1984” and “Fahrenheit 451” are examples of how you want society to be. Because that’s where we’re headed.

The Womens March has turned into much more than just a march for women. Its meaning and purpose has spread beyond womens rights and has become a movement for all human rights.

All the things that we have accomplished in this country, can be attributed to civil disobedience and people refusing to accept the status quo. Protesting and dissent it what this country owes its existence to. And even if you don’t feel like we have valid reasons to do so, I do, and so many others do as well. And we will continue to fight for you. No one is free, until everyone is free. If the last week has been any kind of indicator of what’s to come, I truly believe that we have started something. I feel in my heart that people are finally getting pissed off and are refusing to accept things as they are. Things are happening, people of this country are mobilizing, and we are standing together to fight back.

In closing, I will say this to those who feel you do not need represented:

I will continue to fight for women and minority women to have equal pay among their male counterparts.

I will continue to fight for women (and men) to have access to health care, and have SAFE access to reproductive health care, that is not restricted based on a politicians religious views. I refuse to allow a group of rich men regulate a body part that they do not have.

I will continue to fight for women (and men) who have been sexually assaulted to have the courage to come forward knowing that their offender will face appropriate consequences, and not have to experience what I and so many other people have of being told to get over it, no one will believe you, or it was your fault anyways.

I will continue to fight for the LGBT community to maintain their right to love and marry who they want and to be treated fairly under the law. And for the trans community, to have the right to be who they are without judgment and segregation.

I will continue to fight for people of color, that are jailed, murdered, and restricted from opportunities at a much higher rate compared to their white counterparts.

I will continue to fight for my friends that are not of this country or the Christian faith, that have been treated as the enemy or less than, and have continued to endure prejudice and threats of displacement and separation from their friends and families.

I will continue to fight for the poor, who are constantly overlooked and demonized as people who have caused their fates, and no matter how hard they try they cannot escape the perpetual cycle of institutional poverty.

And lastly, I will continue to fight for YOU. So that you may continue to experience life without the obstacles some of us have come to and may continue to hit over and over. Also so that you may continue to express your dissatisfaction with us and your distaste for our vulgar language and behavior. Not everyone walks the same path, and not everyone is afforded the same abilities to get where they want to be.

I will continue to fight for compassion and empathy, because we are all human, and its time to prove it.

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