Stand Up, Fight Back

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or choose not to pay attention to certain issues because they don’t affect you directly, you know that this past weekend was the second annual Women’s March, a women-led movement that advocates for human rights and breaking down systems of oppression.  According to their website, “The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.”

Photo taken by Kate Pearce, an attendee at the NYC Women's March

The Women’s March is much more than mean girls walking around in pink hats and demanding free things (I’m looking at you, Tomi Lahren).  In my opinion, one of the most interesting things about the Women’s March is that, despite its title, those who attend are not only doing so on behalf of women.  While they are fighting for things like reproductive rights, such as access to birth control and abortion, they are also advocating for the LGBTQIA community, people of color, environmental justice, and the rights of immigrants.  The Women's March serves as a platform for people of all backgrounds to stand up for their beliefs.

Note: A complete list of the Women’s March Unity Principles can be found on their website, under the “About” tab.

The Women’s March is not an “anti-Trump” or “anti-man” movement.  In fact, that assumption is exactly why the Women’s March exists-- we are conditioned to believe, as a male-dominated society, that when women stand up for their own rights, they are belittling men.  The Women’s March is not anti-anything, but instead a movement that promotes equality for all, regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or economic standing.  It is an inclusive movement that fosters democracy, free speech, and freedom of expression… all things that Republicans often babble on about.  Yes, many attendees of the Women’s March hold signs expressing their distaste for Trump and his blatant misogyny, but that is their right as an American.  The Women’s March is not about demonizing others, but rather, trying to create a more accepting world.

Photo taken by Kate Pearce, an attendee at NYC Women's March

Many people who oppose the Women’s March argue that the women in this country don’t know the first thing about inequality.  It is true that women in third-world countries face many injustices that women in America have never had to endure, such as not having the right to drive or being forced to cover every inch of their bodies in clothing.  While we, as Americans, do not know those struggles personally, I believe that one of the main objectives of the Women’s March is to back the voices of women in those countries, so that someday, they too will have the opportunity stand up for their own rights.

We have made a lot of progress regarding minority rights in America, but that does not mean there isn’t room for more.  Our society is still unbalanced, and there is still work to be done.  It's great if you personally don't feel oppressed, but that does not diminish the fact that others are, indeed, oppressed-- it is your responsibility, as a member of our society, to be a strong voice for those who are not heard. 

 

Jenna Toth is a second year student at the University of Vermont, majoring in public communication. Jenna is no stranger to the world of writing-- her grandfather, Owen Canfield, is a former sports writer for the Hartford Courant in Connecticut. She considers him one of her biggest inspirations when it comes to writing. During her downtime, Jenna enjoys long walks to the fridge, playing songs on her ukulele, and cuddling with her black lab, Oliver.
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