Why You Won’t See Me At A Women’s March Today

Why You Won’t See Me At A Women’s March Today January 21, 2017

​Blessings to all who will march in their local Women’s March or the national Women’s March in DC today. I’ve been asked repeatedly if I intended to go for the last few months and my answer has fairly consistently been no. If you caught me in a moment where I was tired, you’d hear me speak about a travel conflict. While that was (in part) true, my reasoning is complex and will make some of you uncomfortable. 

I’m not attending a women’s march today because I’m tired of being expected to show up for things that don’t take all my identities or that of the people I love into account. I’m tired of how non-intersectional feminism works to erase my story and force me to identify with a femininity that does not work with or for my black queerness. 

Some of you are conscious of this and are marching for your rights, the identities you hold, and for your sisters and femme siblings who too often find their voices silenced or shouted over in space that works to uphold a vision of white, middle class womanhood, femininity, and feminism. 

But others of you need to be reminded that possessing an ethic centering women is not monolithic in nature and there are women who don’t feel safe, valued, or acknowledged in your midst. 

So as you march today, I encourage you to work to hold:

– The undocumented. Hold your sisters who have fiercely fought for the right to be acknowledged in a new homeland as they were too often forced out of their own due to the global policies or interests that our nation enforced. Hold their inhumane treatment, detentions, familial challenges, and varied other struggles in your heart. 

-Your LGBTQIA fam. Hold your queer and trans sisters close today and hold all who desire to see their stories erased accountable. No one gets to determine the expressions of our womanhood and it’s time to stop the violent and dangerous attempts to do so. 

– Women of Color. Our oppression is compounded because not only to we deal with patriarchy, every time we speak about how white supremacy works to blot out our stories of subjugation in these spaces we are told we are being divisive and working against the good of the whole. When you bind our tounges, restrict our speech, and try and force us to sanitize our struggle for your comfort, you are engaging in an act of violence against us. Hold the discomfort of this reality and that we don’t all deal with the same degrees or modes of oppression.

– Sex Workers. You may not agree with their work but that doesn’t give you the right to broadly paint them as manipulated, trafficked persons who have no choice in doing their work. This narrative is a dangerous one and works to create conditions that are potentially harmful for those who work in this field whether it be for the sake of survival, acquisition of resource, or desire. So work to acknowledge them and then hold them tight. 

There are so many others I could name. Women who are not represented by your pink pussy hats because if they have vaginas (not all women do), they aren’t all pink. Women who you slut shame because their sexual ethic and performance of femininity doesn’t align with your ethos. Women who are shamed because their adherence to a spiritual practice and outward sign of devotion such as covering their hair, makes you call into question their capacity to have done so out of their own sense of agency. Women whose expression of womanhood is masculine in nature. Far too many feel they don’t have a place in the story of female identified unity being expressed across the nation today. 

So today, I will sit home resting up because the next 1,400+ days will take a lot out of me and have neither the strength, capacity, nor desire to be in a space that I don’t feel wholly takes into account how my womanhood manifests or how those I love move in the world as women. I pray your safety and send you my love but I know what I need and that’s to be held in the fullness of who I am. 

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  • I am so sorry you feel excluded. At our march I saw ALL these and more represented and our chant was WE ARE ONE. Please do not exclude your voice.

  • thepromisechaser

    That statement is part of my challenge…speaking about our oneness while not acknowledging that we wrestle with different forms of oppression that compound our marginalization erases the struggles so many have to navigate. I’m grateful that you saw unity that affirrmed you today Jan. Please know that my abstention from marching is not to the exclusion of my voice; it allowed me to raise consciousness around things movement still has to work on.

  • Alicia, Thank you for your voice and for what you have said. I am a white, cis woman, 54. I did not go to the march, but I did knit two “pussy hats” and will knit a third…all pink. Because of your article, I plan to knit a few more, not pink. Instead of marching, I attended a funeral for a church matriarch. I also spent time putting my house in order and contemplating a sermon I will preach on Feb 5. I am concerned that the “pussy hat” outrage only became an outrage because now white women are feeling threatened. So, now we march. Where has our outrage been all along, white women? To think that “all” were represented on Saturday is naive. I am concerned that the energy of this march will wane as we move on into the next 1400+ days and that many white women will still not understand what this fight is about, will not look at their privilege and think things are “not so bad” since their way of life will not be affected. It’s one thing to have an opinion and another to stop benefiting from one’s privilege. That is the real work we have to do.

  • thepromisechaser

    Thank you for lending your voice to the conversation. Your concerns are my concerns and yet somehow they are not the concerns of some of our sisters which gives me pause. There has to be an effort by women with privilege to use their resources in the interest of women who deal with compounded oppression.

  • Thank you. This is beautiful and powerful and needed.

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