Last year I had the privilege of marching with thousands of women on a peaceful January day in Seattle. It was empowering to see so many women gathered together seeking rights, freedom and justice for all.
This year when the women marched I watched from home for reasons that are unimportant. As I watched the live stream I read some of the comments and it struck me how many of them were negative. I could see how men might not understand the plight of women but many if not the majority of negativity I was seeing was coming from other women. While this doesn’t surprise me, it does get me frustrated.
One comment stated all those people were wasting their time and if they really wanted to help they should be volunteering somewhere and not marching and leaving garbage behind. Another said women should be grateful for the rights they already have rather than asking for more. I shook my head and scrolled on.
I understood why they marched, for the same reasons I marched a year ago. The right for women to vote didn’t come from writing letters to politicians and asking nicely. Civil rights didn’t come about by holding rallies in churches where outsiders weren’t disturbed. Making signs and taking to the streets is the most peaceful and effective way to demonstrate the need for change. To make it known to the public that change needs to happen, the people must go out and make noise, be inconvenient until change happens. It is not only our right but our responsibility to demand a fair shot and for our elected representatives to truly represent what we the people want, women included. For me and the millions that marched over the last two years, that means not only wanting a voice but wanting our voices to be heard loud and clear. Women’s rights are human rights, equal pay for equal work, and my body my choice.
Yet there are those voices who don’t want things to change, voices fine with the status quo because change is hard and we are “close enough”. I have struggled with figuring out why these women feel as they do. Are they women in abusive relationships who submit to their partner? Were they raised in a deeply religious environment where the patriarchy was the basis of everything? Have they been taught that women are second to men and simply don’t believe they can have better? If you are a woman reading this and you don’t believe in things like equal rights and equal pay, please comment and tell me why!
Close enough isn’t good enough, not for me, not for my sisters and nieces; we deserve a fair shot at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. While I wasn’t at the march on Saturday this year in person, I was there in spirit. I will continue to write letters and engage with people who think and feel differently than I do so I may seek to understand, to find common ground upon which we all can build a better future.