Why We Marched: Moving Forward

Love is love.

Black lives matter.

Climate change is real.

Immigrants make America great.

Women’s rights are human rights.

 

We saw signs with these statements and countless variations spread across Women’s Marches around the world this Saturday. I have never been so proud to be a lady than I am right at this moment — writing this piece, sulking in my bed with my period, eating pizza and dipping it in ranch.

 

I was not able to actively participate in a Women’s March this past weekend due to a prior obligation. However, I did not even experience FOMO because I saw so many of my friends and peers standing up and speaking out — many of whom I had never seen or heard do so before. I cannot express the pride that I am feeling. Zero arrests and tremendous turnouts. Not just in the United States, but everywhere.

 

The Women’s March was a gargantuan symbol of togetherness and love — largely counteractive to what had happened here in the U.S. the day before. To me, the Women’s March made sense because while there is so much inequality amongst different groups and demographics (see statements referenced at the opening of this piece), gender inequality has been a historically global problem, well, forever. Women are the bearers of life, and life of any kind cannot be good if we are not treated well. It’s as simple as that. Everyone should be treated well in every sense of the word. That is the foundation for a successful and fruitful nation. For example…

 

Look at the official website of Sweden! “Sweden and Gender Equality” is a huge link on the home page — one of the first things you see when you visit the site. Sweden is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world with a model economy. Other issues are also highlighted on Sweden’s homepage, such as “obtaining a work permit,” which alludes to the acceptance and caters to the needs of immigrants. “Let’s save the climate” is another headline of sorts on the site’s homepage. Sweden loves the environment. This is proof that when we are open, caring, and loving, we are not vulnerable, but stronger. Again, this was the underpinning of what happened on Saturday.

 

I have heard the sentiment expressed that girls try to stand up for themselves simply because they “want attention,” “want something to stand up for” or “are too sensitive” (all very sexist assumptions). It is ridiculous that we even feel the need to have to justify why we are standing up for ourselves. Just ask Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, AKA my girl crush.

 

Do you know why I feel the need to stand up for myself and for other girls? The reasons are countless. I stand up because as a girl, I have been afraid to speak up. I have felt small. I have felt unworthy of success and happiness. I have felt fear toward my sexual nature and shame when I expressed it. I have listened as my roommate cried and told me the story of how a 70-year old man groped her in bar here in our safe little college town. I stand up for myself because my body is not part of any business. My body is not an entity of any single religion or belief system. I have felt unsafe walking the streets at night. I have been shocked by news and practices regarding female mistreatment in other countries. I have been even more in shock by how little attention this mistreatment receives in our media. I stand up because it is time for us girls, and everyone, to stop feeling shame and incompetence. If you think that we don’t need or deserve change, then you are highly uneducated and misinformed. The access to my birth control could be taken away very soon. My president has bragged about sexually assaulting women. As women though, we are not scared. We are strong.

 

People have often made the comment that my friends and I are “strong girls.” Of course, this is a lovely compliment, and thank you very much. But not every girl needs to be brash and outspoken; a vast array of personalities is what makes the world beautiful. However, while it is of course an honor to be a “strong girl,” it is also an implication that many girls are not strong. We are all inherently strong, no matter our personality type or background. I truly believe that when we, as a society, are able to eliminate the need to make distinctions like that, we will finally be equal. We are all strong girls. We are the ones who decide that we are, and our decisions should be respected. We are at a time and place in history where we will refuse to go backwards. We are too sharp to go backwards. No matter the obstacles, we are marching forward.

 

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