As we were walking out of the metro to join the rally before this weekend’s Women’s March on Washington, I commented to my friends wondering how many people would be protesting the March. One of my friends was baffled as she asked, “Wait, do you really think people will be protesting AGAINST equality for women???? Aren’t we past this???”
I had hoped so as well, but when I logged on to Facebook last night, I saw that we are certainly not.
I’m choosing to interpret my many friends’ “What on earth do these women think they are marching for????” posts as actual questions. I’m here to provide some answers to those willing to listen and looking to understand.
I can’t speak for everyone, and we all have our individual reasons for marching, but here are just some of the many reasons I participated in the Women’s March on Saturday:
- I march because I do not feel subservient to men, but I know many women are not as lucky as I am. (Both in other countries and in the United States)
- I march because I am a woman, but I am also heterosexual, Christian, and white. I have not experienced discrimination based on the color of my skin or my sexual orientation, and the discrimination based on my religion has never been dangerous or life threatening. I want everyone to be this blessed.
- I march because freedom of religion is one of the most important principles our country was founded on. I believe this freedom should extend to all religions, including Islam. I will not support policies that discriminate against Muslims or members of any other religion. My rights do not surpass the rights of others.
- For me, this issue is also deeply religious. I believe in the Holy Bible and frequently recall the tale of “The Good Samaritan” eager to help and serve someone who believed differently than himself. I also believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he was speaking as an inspired leader when he stated:
The Saints can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for my brethren. If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a ‘Mormon,’ I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul—civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race. Love of liberty was diffused into my soul by my grandfathers while they dandled me on their knees. …If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.We ought always to be aware of those prejudices which sometimes so strangely present themselves, and are so congenial to human nature, against our friends, neighbors, and brethren of the world, who choose to differ from us in opinion and in matters of faith. Our religion is between us and our God. Their religion is between them and their God.
- I march because racism is holding us back in the United States today. Naturally, those of us who have not been a victim of racism may not be as aware of this issue. I can promise that our society is still a very racist culture. This is not only backed by countless statistics, but also by countless personal experiences. I have heard first hand as people have made snap judgments or racist remarks based on a person’s skin color.
- I march because I believe in ending racial profiling and police brutality targeting people of color.
- I march because if a woman can do a job at the same level as a man, she deserves the same pay and respect.
- I march because domestic violence is largely targeted towards women.
- I march because I have experienced sexism in many shades.
- I have sat through group projects in business classes pitching my ideas over and over again, only to have them dismissed until repeated word for word by a man.
- I have received criticism for choosing to move across the country in order to pursue my career. (I’ve never heard of a man being criticized for this, but I have heard of many women who have experienced this same problem)
- I have been told on multiple occasions that I’m unattractive to men because I am “too smart” and “don’t need to be taken care of”.
- I have been harassed online and in person, by both people I knew and strangers.
- I have been labeled as a “hard a**” and a “b**** who can’t take a joke” when I demanded respect from men who thought it was funny to repeatedly joke about taking advantage of me, being told that I should shake it off, and that “boys will be boys” when men continued to speak disrespectfully to me after I told them to stop.
- I have been threatened with rape by a man on a dating website when I would not consent to meeting up to have sex. (I was again told by many people that telling him off was “out of line”)
- I march because women and girls make up an estimated 98% of sex trafficking victims worldwide
- Sex trafficking is a domestic issue as well as a foreign one. Many thousands are trafficked both in and out of our country each year.
- I march because women’s bodies are not respected as their own property worldwide.
- Over 200 million women worldwide are affected by female genital mutilation
- I march because almost every single woman I have spoken with has a story about a man feeling entitled to access to her body.
- I march because when I dress modestly, it should be because I want to, not as a method of self-preservation.
- I march because I am lucky enough to not be the 1 in the 1 in 5 statistic. I march because this statistic is too high.
- I march because the way our president has treated women and minorities is not okay. I refuse to embrace a leader who through his example encourages bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia. I will not celebrate a president who encourages fear, hatred, and division.
- I march because we should not settle for being “better than many other places”, but instead fight to become the best we can be, both politically and socially. We have come a long way on the road to equality, but we have farther to go.
- I march because I believe in promoting love.
- I march because I plan to keep the rights I have.
- I march because I believe in progression, not regression.
- I march because I love my country, and I believe we can do better.
When I looked on the website I did see that one of the many platforms they were advocating for was pro-choice… I prayed about it and felt very strongly that I should still attend for every other platform I do agree with. I do know the march organizers did not want pro-life groups to be part of the programming, and though I don’t agree with it, I understand their perspective and desire to maintain consistency.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.