(Photo by Billie Carter-Rankin)
To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women” – Angela Davis.
On Saturday, January 21, 2017, women’s marches took place across the world in solidarity with the major rally and march that took place in D.C. just one day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president. Some estimates state that nearly 2.5 million protestors took to the streets in the United States to peacefully voice their displeasure.
The Women’s March on Washington (WMW) was “an evolving effort originally founded by white women… committed to ensuring that the March reflects women and femme expressive people of all backgrounds,” according to womensmarch.com
, the official website. The WMW established National Co-Chairs and Organizers in an effort to be inclusive, as well as help develop sister marches, which were well-attended. In fact, the Miami Herald reported protestors shut down I-95.
Although the D.C. March was by far the largest, “just one of 673 staged in cities worldwide, from Moscow to Manchester, England,” according to The Washington Post
. MSNBC reported 400,000 protestors in New York, and as many as 250,000 in Chicago. However, despite the turnout success of the marches, one point of contention came from the brand of feminism that was on display. Many queer, black and brown women found themselves feeling uncomfortable at the prominence of white feminism and their concerns being touted, instead of intersectional protesting.
While some may say this anger or discomfort is displaced, and that focusing on our differences take away from collective power, there was smug assurance that some women just don’t get it. There was a record low number of arrests at the protests across the U.S., which some protestors took to mean that women can march peacefully and oppose injustice properly. This insinuates that when others are arrested protesting, such as Black Lives Matters or DAPL protestors, they are doing something wrong. It doesn’t take into account that police arrive for those protest in riot gear and with tear gas handy, nor that those protests have a majority of black and brown protestors, whereas the marches Saturday were overwhelmingly white.
Most women can agree that how America treats them is flat out wrong. However, the varying degrees of intolerance and disrespect assigned to minority, trans and disabled women is institutional and equally unacceptable. Moving forward, all women’s marches and marchers should make a conscious effort to reflect that.