The Action Alliance’s Real Story Intern, Dominique Colbert, was one of nearly a half a million people who headed to Washington D.C. January 21, 2017 to join the Women’s March on Washington. She shares her reflections here of the March, and her response to the anti-feminist critique that followed.
A few weeks ago, history was made. On January 21st, one day after the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, over 3 million people took part in what has been referred to as the largest demonstration in U.S. history. The Women’s March on Washington, held at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. drew around 500,000 people, while more than 1,000 sister marches took place in all 50 states and in over 32 countries across the globe.
As someone who attended the march, I can attest to the abundance of positive energy spread throughout the day by all in attendance. The feelings of unity and empowerment in one cause was indescribable and unforgettable. Attending was one of the best decisions I have made, and the spark it ignited to continue to create positive change has been so rewarding.
Following the march, many news organizations released stories detailing the event’s unity, message, and impact. However, anti-feminist articles were also put into high circulation. Most were written by women who claimed to be against the march and feminism altogether. Two such articles were How the Women’s March Reinforced Every Negative Stereotype About Women EVER and Dear Daughter: Here’s Why I Didn’t March For You. Another article, published prior to the march, I Am a Female and I Am So Over Feminists was recirculated heavily. All three articles attempt to disgrace feminism all while showing through their words, their ignorance of the true goal of feminism.
Susan Goldberg, author of How the Women’s March Reinforced Every Negative Stereotype, makes an effort to vilify the march on the idea that it ignores issues which she sees as more valid. A poster-child for the Fallacy of Relative Privation, Goldberg writes “America’s women have more freedom and dignity than most women in the world.” She states that the march should have been for women in other countries who are “working against [their] wills as sex slaves…or [who face] a lifetime of harassment and abuse because [they live] in an Islamic society, or [who are] suffering in silence after having an abortion, or [who are] still suffering the trauma of being tossed away because she was born a girl.” She overlooks the fact that the march was worldwide in attendance as well as being centered around the treatment of women worldwide. While some marched across the globe in solidarity with America, some marched for issues more relevant to where they live. Depending on where one lives, the immediate effects of feminism may look different. However, feminist agendas around the world intersect to accomplish the same goal. Oppression is not a contest. One form does not minimize the seriousness of another.
I Am A Female and I Am So Over Feminists is another article which fails to recognize this. Author Gina Davis claims that “Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than anywhere else in the world.” Ironic, considering for example, that the United States ranks 101st in the world for percentage of women who hold national office. Early in the article, she writes “God forbid a man has ideas these days,” implying that feminists fight to keep men from having and sharing opinions. On the contrary, feminism is a resistance to the erasure of women’s voices, not an effort to erase men’s.
Mary Ramirez, author of the Dear Daughter article chimes in with the same assertion. Ramirez writes that the Women’s March was unnecessary because we live country where we “already enjoy all the freedoms and rights that men do.” She goes on to list off said rights; women can vote, run major companies, or even run for president. It is ironic that in her list of women’s freedoms in this country, Ramirez fails to bring up any of the rights women were actually marching for at the Women’s March. The rights she did list, were, in another ironic twist, fought for by feminists in the past so that we may have them now.
Instead of making valid arguments against any of the issues feminists fight to change, all three articles attempt to discredit the entire feminist movement. Dear Daughter describes the marchers as “very loud” women who “screamed” and wore “funny outfits.” She goes on to generalize their concerns as “terrible, horrible, no good very bad lies,” basing all of her arguments against feminist issues on her altered idea of what feminism actually is. As opposed to paying attention to the marchers’ messages of equal rights — equal pay, control of our own bodies, equal treatment of all races, equal opportunities, etc. — they paint their own ideas of what went on at the march and what it meant.
Ironically, Dear Daughter and I am a Female conclude with statements that line up with the exact point of feminism; all genders should be treated equally. Davis concludes, saying, “There is no ‘dominant’ gender… Time to embrace it.” Meanwhile, Ramirez states, “…[women are] biologically and physically and emotionally different from men, but that doesn’t mean we’re less.” So congratulations ladies, you too have feminist ideals. Once the time is taken to understand what feminism actually is and what it stands for, a lot more anti-feminist arguments will be dismantled.
Dominique Colbert is a Hotline Crisis Services Specialist at the Action Alliance as well as an Intern for the Real Story journalism internship. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a B.A. in African American Studies. She is an aspiring filmmaker and loves to create as well as watch others’ creations on the big screen.
The Real Story Internship analyzes and rewrites news stories to reflect a trauma-informed, survivor-centered and racial justice lens.
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