Imagine being home alone in the middle of the night, waking up to a loud thunk. Someone is in your house. You hear footsteps. They stop. They come closer. Close enough you can hear heavy breathing. You roll off and under the bed, fumbling with your phone. Your chest tightens. You can’t breathe. You dial 911. The operator answers. “911, what’s your emergency?” You tell her there is a stranger in your house and you feel you are in danger. After the operator hears your story, she says, “Okay ma’am. See, the thing is, I don’t feel threatened, so I am going to have to ask you to call back when there’s a real emergency. Like one that affects me.” Click.
That’s sort of how I feel about some of the responses floating around about the Women’s Marches this past weekend.
“I am a woman and I didn’t march because…
I do not feel threatened
I do not feel my voice is “not heard”
I do not feel I am not provided opportunities
I do not feel I don’t have control of my body or choices
I do not feel I am “not respected or undermined”**
To the women who feel this way, I think that is fantastic. You really don’t know how lucky you are. It must be nice to have no fears, to see the world as a safe place, to not have a single thing holding you back from everything you want. To know that you can take care of yourself, no matter what the world throws at you. I imagine it’s the most freeing feeling in the world. You are no doubt, a strong woman. I respect you. But I ask you, just for a minute, to consider those who don’t feel that way. To consider those who didn’t have the same opportunities you had, who aren’t equipped with the same skills to handle life as you are. Who had different experiences, who walk a different path, down a different street in a different neighborhood. Us women, we’re not all the same.
To the women who did not march because you do not feel disrespected or undermined, I used to be you. I remember defiantly arguing with a female co-worker about how I don’t feel I am treated less than a man. I’m not owed any more than what I work my ass off for. I surrounded myself with respectful male friends, could always hold my own (or more) when around them. I considered myself a strong, independent, intelligent, woman (still do) and somewhat of a badass. Then I woke up one night with a total stranger’s hand up my vagina and I was like, wait a minute, I’m not sure this is what respect is supposed to feel like. And now we have a President that thinks that’s okay, and we’re debating whether it’s locker room talk or not. I don’t give a shit what kind of talk it was. If he had any respect for women, that debate wouldn’t be necessary. You can’t debate the meaning of words unspoken.
And to the women who say quit whining and speak on the real injustices that affect women in foreign countries that do not have that opportunity or means to have their voices heard.**
Haven’t you heard? We ARE those foreign countries. We’re the great big melting pot. Where else do you think our nation came from? Many American women have been there, and they ain’t going back. Why do you think millions of women from all over the world stood up and marched in solidarity with us? This was our collective voice, speaking out, speaking to each to other, lone wolves howling into the night, letting each other know we’re out there, and we will not be silenced. America is a strong country, Americans are strong people, we help pave the way. Women all over the globe are watching us, counting on us. I was marching for them, not just myself. Because even if I do not feel threatened, I know others do. And like most things in life, this is not just about me.
To the women who say they did not march because:**
I can make my own choices: But what if that choice is to marry another woman? A few years ago, I actually couldn’t make that choice, my own choice. I marched for that right too.
I can speak and be heard: But what if that voice is saying, I am a boy trapped in a girl’s body? Can that voice be heard? Will you listen?
I can vote: Yeah…now. But how do you think you got that right? Maybe you were born with it, but other women were not. They had to march, they had to fight to give YOU that right. That did that for YOU.
I can work if I want: That’s really great, but some of us don’t have that choice. We have to work to eat, to support our families. And what if we want to be paid the same amount for doing the same job as a man? What if you were still told your place was barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen? Somebody paved your way, they gave you that choice to work, you know, if you want.
I control my body: Guuurrrrl, me too. And since I have control over my body and I can make my own choices (what a concept!), I can choose to get an abortion. Because, you know, my body, my choice.
Do you see now? If, like you, I actually could make my own choices and control my own body, maybe I wouldn’t be out here marching in these streets either. These are freedoms you take for granted because your choices are different choices than mine; what I do with my body may not be what you choose to do with your body. But if you have the right to control your body, speak and make your voice heard, make your own choices…tell me, why can’t I have those same rights?
Because all of these freedoms that you say you have, I feel are threatened. People I love are speaking but no one listens, because you don’t like what they are saying. I can’t make my own choices, because you don’t like what my choices are. I can’t control my body because you don’t approve of what I want to do with it.
Funny how that works.
Just kidding. That’s not funny at all.
**These words are taken from something Judge Jeanine Pirro allegedly posted. You never can be too sure these days.