So I marched in the local version of the Women’s March on Washington Saturday.
Someone earlier tonight had a post up on Facebook about why they didn’t march. It had to do with how women in America have all these freedoms and rights (voting, making their own choices, controlling their own bodies, etc.) while women in a number of places around the world put up with major injustices and horrors. And it had to do with how we were whining, even though we had it so good.
This was not put up by a man, but by a transgender female, and it echoes something I think I read earlier so it may have been at least in part copied and pasted, but if so, it was without attribution. It was however politely written for the most part, though with a few insults thrown in. Certainly claiming we’re whining is a way to delegitimize anything we say.
(Come to think of it, I love (you do hear my sarcasm?) how we’re told “we should all be polite” or “can’t we all just be nice to each other and get along?” or words to this effect and then the person who says that insults us. But that’s a post for a different time.)
Maybe this just pushed some buttons, but I started to write a short response. It grew. And this is it:
I am not exactly sure where to start, but I will try to be respectful. I marched, but it is related to all those examples you list. We know about those.
But I also marched because there is a move on to restrict access to birth control in this county. To health care. Not just for women, but for low income people.
Because there seems to be more interest in making sure people can’t vote than that they can at the moment.
Because it’s going to be harder to get money to go to college, and that makes such a difference in being able to pull yourself up out of poverty. And poverty disproportionately impacts women and children being raised by single parents who are most often women.
Because my ex’s niece just married her partner last summer, and my best friend’s child is transgendered.
Because South Dakota statistically has the second highest rate for rape per capita in the US, only being beaten out by Alaska. And because a friend in college was date-raped before we even had a word for that, and a close friend was gang-raped.
Because decades ago when I was in high school and we were about to take the college placement tests a teacher casually told us that they used to rank the males and females separately on the mechanical aptitude section, and all these girls were getting high scores so were planning to go into technology but that now they pooled the boys and girls scores together and the girls didn’t do that well since they now were being scored against the boys instead of just against other girls. The message was very blatantly “girls can’t do mechanics” and “don’t plan a career in this, you’ll never be able to compete with the boys.” I still nailed that section of the test.
Because Breitbart has a headline from June 2015 that literally says “Here’s Why There Ought to Be a Cap on Women Studying Science and Maths” when my sister-in-law was a statistics major at the School of Mines who makes her living in IT, who helped make sure that all the machines and computers at Rapid City Regional Hospital were Y2K compliant over 15 years ago (and was interviewed on local TV about it) and whose first career job was comparing statistics from flight tests of the Sidewinder missile at China Lake Naval Weapons Center in California over 25 years ago.
Because I actually once picked up a Christian book on dating advice that literally said to play dumb so that as a woman I wouldn’t seem to be intelligent. Or at least not more intelligent than a guy. Needless to say I didn’t buy it, but still…..
Because when I was engaged we were using birth control (condom and diaphragm) but we slipped up one night and so I went in to get a morning after pill even though I was pretty sure I wasn’t at mid-cycle, because mid-cycle is unpredictable and so is the exact length of your period, and withdrawal doesn’t work. And even though it was legal and I had every right to ask for it, the doctor refused to give me the pill at the student health center because HE didn’t believe in it. His choice, not mine — on a Saturday morning when student health closed down at noon until Monday, and you have to take the morning after pill within 72 hours, but it’s most effective within the first 24. I went back Monday morning and got the pill within the end of that 72 hour window from a different doctor who told me the first one had no right to have refused me, and who gave me his regular clinic phone number for when he wasn’t working at student health and told me to call him there if this ever happened again. This was in 1990, and our reproductive rights have been being whittled away every decade since. They’d like to ban the morning after pill if they could get away with it.
Because there’s someone distributing a white-supremacist antisemitic, anti-Native American newsletter on the free newspaper piles in western South Dakota. It’s called the Stampede, and has been found at convenience stores in Caputa, New Underwood, and Beulah, Wyo., and I heard also in Kadoka. This neo-Nazi crap is in our backyard.
Because when I posted that I didn’t support Trump on a friend’s Facebook page before the election (she did support him), one of her other friends went off on why one of the reasons she supported him was so that we could return America to being a Christian nation. Only I’m Wiccan, and my kid is agnostic — but also I was raised Catholic and know that Christian in America has always meant Protestant Christian. Catholics weren’t ever trusted, and if you go back to the late 19th and early 20th century a lot of the anti-immigrant feeling is tied up with the fact that the immigrants who were coming to America (especially Irish and Italians) were Catholics. Catholicism was used in the campaign against Kennedy, and before that it led to Al Smith’s defeat by Herbert Hoover in 1928.
For that matter I marched because on one side of my ancestry I have Irish and on the other I have Bohemian. And both the Irish and the Eastern European immigrants weren’t wanted here in America.
All of this and more slushed together and because it’s so disparate it was hard to put a voice to. If you’d asked me yesterday, “why are you marching” I’d have had trouble explaining it, because some of this is so unrelated to other of it. But part of why I marched is because I’m tired of being told to sit down and shut up. Not by you, not in the least, but rather just sort of generally, in the random comments made to people on the Rapid City Journal online edition, or in Facebook posts like the one where someone answered my comment with that we should all just unite and be polite to each other and then two comments later insulted the candidate I voted for in no uncertain terms.
I marched because the version of America I see coming is one I really don’t like or believe in and that I don’t think represents the best about us. And I’m tired of being quiet.
Feel free to share this, though I’d like attribution. You may need to edit it slightly, as it’s South Dakota-centric.
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