The following post is inspired by a conversation I had with a friend of mine regarding the Woman’s March and wondering why some women in the US feel like they are second class citizens even though they aren’t required to veil their faces, freely drive cars and speak their minds without fear. Here is my response:
Yes, while it’s true that in some countries women are required to veil their faces, are not allowed to drive cars, and are unable to speak their minds without fear. But women’s rights are not a 0 sum game. We are a great country, but what’s the matter with wanting to be better? Why can’t we fight for better maternity leave (and paternity leave) because “well, at least we don’t get burned with acid or shot in the face for trying to get an education.
In my opinion we can stop marching when we have equal maternity/paternity leave options at every job, when we are no longer shamed for breast-feeding in public, when we aren’t blamed for being raped because we were tipsy at the time or we had a tight skirt on. We can stop marching when it’s a given that if we are pregnant and get on a full bus, someone will give up their seat for us not because they have to, but because it’s the decent thing to do.
We will stop marching when the Brock Turner’s of the world are held responsible for their crimes. We will stop marching when we no longer have to walk in a group when we are out at night.
I, as a disabled American woman, am grateful that I live here and not in another place in the world where I would likely just be shut away because being disabled is considered a shameful thing. But what is wrong with wanting to be better? Just because our culture doesn’t shut away those with disabilities (in the same ways other countries do, but that’s another topic I could write reams about ), doesn’t mean that we are perfect or that we are above reproach.
If you want to learn about why people marched, I am humbly asking you to seek out a woman (or man) who marched and asked them why they did it. And keep an open mind.
PS: For the record I do think it unfortunate that women who were pro-life seemed to feel excluded from the event. At the same time I also know that abortion rights were not the only reason people marched.