They Weren’t Marching Against You

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I think it needs to be stated blatantly: the women who marched on Saturday WERE NOT marching against those of you who didn’t feel called to throw on a pink t-shirt and a kitty hat. You don’t have to justify your decision not to hold a cleverly-crafted feminist poster.

I didn’t march. I spent the weekend celebrating the birth of my favorite person in the world – the woman who gave me life. And so I  know firsthand the march wasn’t against those of us who didn’t join in.

And just because you voted for Trump, the presidential candidate who best represented your political views, doesn’t mean the march was against you, either.

The march was against bigotry, hate, & misogyny. The march was for women. Women supporting women. Men supporting women. And I want to make sure you know that, just because you didn’t march, doesn’t mean you’re lumped in with bigotryhatemisogyny. 

Let’s take a minute to discuss women’s health. 

I know what you’re thinking – we have it so good here compared to all the other countries. But why is this the case? It’s because of things like insurance, Planned Parenthood, Walk-in-clinics, and really rad women who continue to sacrifice themselves for our collective good.

When I go to Guatemala to volunteer it’s made so obvious to me that we should never… not for one second.. take our advantages for granted. And part of doing so means we don’t let them get taken away.

Feminine care is marginalized. All over the world. Including the U.S.. 

There is no human race without a period, and yet tampons aren’t covered by insurance. But the little blue pill is.

In fact, within the last 40 years, not much has changed in regards to menstrual health.   While we’ve  made rapid advancements in technology and medicine, menstrual care is kept on the hushhush. There’s no money in it. There’s not enough outspoken demand for it. Thus a smidgen for why The March matters.

According to Newsweek: “’Menstrual equity’ has gone almost nowhere. Today, tampons and pads are taxed in most states while adult diapers, Viagra, Rogaine and potato chips are not.”

(LET ME REPEAT THAT: Rogaine isn’t taxed. But tampons are; Vanity. Necessity.)

“Men can walk into any bathroom and access all of the supplies they need to care for themselves: toilet paper, soap, paper towels, even seat covers. Women, however, cannot.

In most schools, girls have to trek to the nurse’s office to ask for a pad or tampon, as if menstruating is an illness rather than a natural function. In most public and private places, women are lucky if there’s a cranky machine on the wall charging a few quarters for a pad that’s so uncomfortable you might prefer to use a wad of rough toilet paper instead.

No change? You can pay for a parking spot with a credit card, but have you ever seen such technology on a tampon machine in a women’s bathroom?”

We’re taught to be ashamed of our nether regions, to hide our tampons, and pretend we aren’t cramping so as not to seem weak. So when a 15 year-old girl has issues of the unspoken sort – where does she go? Not to her parents. It doesn’t matter that her yeast infection, UTI, kidney infection, or BV weren’t caused by doing the dirtydirty. She needs medical assistance for an unspoken problem.

Now, let’s dive deeper into this: remember who you were at 15. You may make all the right decisions now, but at an age where the “cause&effect” portion of your brain hasn’t fully developed, but your hormones sure are raging, and peer pressure is a real thing, you’re bound to do some things you later regret. And how wonderful to have a system in place that provides a little grace. That provides birth control, condoms, pap smears, and general guidance.

How many women owe their current success to the grace and forgiveness that Planned Parenthood facilitated? A system that’s being threatened. By men.

How many women who, as girls, went to Planned Parenthood and found out about their oddly shaped uterus, breast abnormalities, lumps&bumps? ( Maybe they couldn’t afford health care, or were too embarrassed to go to an OB, or didn’t have the time to see a general practitioner for a referral. Maybe they went solely because it was there.) And let’s remember, most STI’s don’t show symptoms in women, but can can make them sterile if untreated.

Did you forget that last part? It’s probably because it’s too taboo to talk about. Women’s bodies are regulated, and on the ballot.. but not supported.

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And for those of you who still feel this whole feminist thing is dumb:

You are so lucky that you’ve never experienced any inequality. But stop for a second and think, maybe others have, and just allow them that. And one day, if you’re as unlucky as the rest of us, and you experience some discrimination, I hope you stop, think back to this moment, and just let appreciation for our gender wash over you. Women are awesome. We’ve been fighting this fight that you’ve only just recently become aware of. You’re more than welcome to join us whenever you feel the tug to.

My fellow Christians: 

You must realize that we’re propagating your agenda with our feminism. Through your relationship with Jesus you’ve come to realize your value as His child. But as you know, we’re a broken people. To tell us we aren’t broken enough to march is silly. And while you know the value of your body and soul, many feel as though their bodies aren’t their own. Again, just allow them this.

You’re pissed because a girl has a cartooned uterus (or worse) on her hat, but the next time she’s being pressured by a boy, her subconscious is going to remind her the value of her body. The hours she spent marching on Saturday showed her that her body is worth fighting for. The pro-woman memes that fill her Instagram will stay with her.

But don’t mitigate the march, just because you didn’t feel a part of it. 

For all my friends who volunteer in other third world countries, I know the bulk of you have heard: “But there’s starving/needy/sick/uneducated people right here in the U.S. Why go to another country?” And it’s frustrating because they’re right, but what you’re doing in India/Guatemala/Haiti/Africa is still so worthwhile.

The same goes in this situation. Just because women in other countries don’t have certain rights, doesn’t mean women here don’t as well. To tell a women there’s no reason for her to fight for equal pay is weak. How are women in other countries supposed to propagate their own feminist agenda if all of a sudden the United States becomes stagnant?

I am SO proud to be a woman. And you should be too.

Guys. There was no violence. No arrests. The puns were cleaver. The support was thick. And one day I’ll tell my kids how rad my sister was for marching in the official DC Women’s March that started it all. I’ll tell them their aunt made history and did so with class.

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Donald Trump is the president of the people. We didn’t vote him in with the popular vote, but he is our president. And as  states: “I accept that Trump is the president. But I condemn his unabashed bigotry, and his hateful comments about women, Muslims, Hispanics, and other marginalized groups. I condemn him for mocking Serge Kovaleski, and for welcoming white supremacists into his administration. I condemn him for running a campaign based on division and for lying to the American people. I condemn his inability to admit personal fault. I condemn his lack of intellectual curiosity and his disrespect for American norms and values. On the most fundamental level, I condemn Trump as a human being.”

And now it’s our job to remind the Trump administration that they work for us, WE THE PEOPLE. And the majority of us prioritize equality, acceptance, kindness, truth… and in this case Human Rights. The national, peaceful protest was his ultimate reminder of what his people want. And just because you didn’t march, doesn’t mean you don’t support equality, kindness, and truth like the rest of us. We know this. Never for a second was the feminist agenda an attack against you. Quite the opposite actually.

 

 

 

Categories: Open Letter

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