In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to express what you truly think. In an era of culture wars, and divisive politics, every opinion piece we read, appears carefully orchestrated to push a certain political narrative. Take the Women’s March for example – Slammed by the right for its hijacking of feminism to push a pseudo-progressive political agenda, and embraced by the left as a historic movement for women’s rights. Media commentary has been swift to locate itself on the ‘correct’ side of history, yet real facts of the matter are rarely examined, and attention-grabbing sensationalist conclusions are their convenient replacement.
Initially, when I saw media coverage of the Women’s March, I thought to myself, what a bunch of virtue signalling ‘progressive’ liberals willing to eat this shit up like it was quinoa porridge. I found it abhorrent that one of the organizers, Linda Sarsour, was an unapologetic advocate of Sharia Law. She dominated the headlines, presumably because her sentiment was contradictory – on the one hand she was a champion for women’s rights, and on the other, she saw females as the lesser sex, not entitled to enjoy the same liberties as men. At first, I wanted to write about this, and only this, what a two-faced witch Sarsour really was. I then realized though, that if I did, I would be playing right into the conservative agendas hand, that of the disorganized ‘hysterical’ woman, protesting about rights she already had.
The fact is, women like Sarsour, although an organizer of the march, do not represent the majority of women who attended. Yes, I wish the thousands whom went had marched on the doorsteps of the Saudi embassy demanding basic human rights for their female Middle Eastern counterparts instead of an overall, disjointed message plastered on vagina signs, but they didn’t, and that’s OK. It’s OK, because it was a protest in and of itself, representing a plethora of different agendas, united under the umbrella of womanhood.
In a time of political insecurity and fear, solidarity is enough.
A 16-year-old girl marching next to someone, dressed as a vulva for reasons she doesn’t understand, but admitting she’s scared and doesn’t know what the future holds is enough. I don’t care if her sign doesn’t make sense. I don’t care that when she’s interviewed she can’t articulate herself. I care that she has the right to protest, and that her discontent will be heard, and written about.
The fact is, I myself didn’t actually understand, or agree (because I didn’t understand) with the overall message of the march. This doesn’t actually matter. It was the largest civil protest in U.S history and that is something that cannot be ignored. Even if the narrative pushed is extremist and something I’m not comfortable with that still, doesn’t matter because, it was the largest civil protest in U.S history. These women are upset, they are scared and they have a president that has made comments about grabbing women by the p****. Attempts by conservative media telling these women to ‘go home’ and branding these protests as misguided, are in fact misguided themselves.
People are impressionable, and people are scared. People will grip onto any political ideology that they see as protecting their rights. The right wing media needs to take a step back, rather than honing in on semantics, and claiming comments by Trump about women’s genitals were taken out of context. That doesn’t fly. What he said was awful.
Demanding, a clear and concise message from such a diverse group of people is setting the bar too high. Charismatic leaders such as Sarsour may have hijacked this overwhelming discontent to push a specific political ideology, but that still doesn’t matter. She does not represent the overwhelming majority of women that attended.
A protest in and of itself, representing a plethora of different agendas, but united under the umbrella of womanhood in these circumstances, is enough for me. It always will be. I may disagree, or not understand your message, but I don’t care. The fact you are there, and showing solidarity is the only thing that matters.