Wednesday, February 8, 2017

An Open Letter to the Women (and Men) Who Rolled Their Eyes at the Women's March

Dear Women (and Men),

As we keep seeing in the media (well, at least the media I expose myself to), we live in an echo chamber. We surround ourselves with people who think the same way we do. We read and watch media that thinks the way we do. We decide to live in communities that think the same way we do. As such, I've realized that some of you may have seen the Women's March from one perspective and may  not even know anyone personally who participated. Consider this a respectful explanation and different way of looking at it.

I was quiet about this for a long time but I have seen too many Facebook posts and heard too many women (and men) that are still annoyed with or straight up hostile towards the Women's March and those who participated, like myself, to remain silent on this.

I've heard we were just a bunch of whiners.
If that's what you want to call this country's tradition of protesting and demanding certain rights, so be it.

I've heard there are so much better uses of our time and resources like donating a can of food to a food shelter.
We can't do both? (For the record, don't donate canned goods. Give money. People using food shelters prefer fresh food too.)

I've heard we need to get jobs.
Not that it's any of your business, but everyone I knew who went works full time.

I've heard we were paid to protest.
Funny, considering that last statement.

I've heard there was no reason for us to march because life is good for women today.
Ironically, life is so good for you because of countless women who marched (some were beaten, imprisoned, and even died) for your rights. And sure, the threat isn't as big for me. But that's not because I'm a woman living in 2017.

It's because I have a good job that provides great health care.

It's because my health insurance pays for birth control.

It's because even if my health insurance decides to not cover birth control, I make enough that I can pay for it out of pocket.

It's because I probably won't ever need an abortion due to my access to birth control.

It's because I won't be condemned or discriminated against because of the person I love.

It's because my gender matches my genitals.

It's because my skin is white and my hair is straight.

It's because the faith I belong to (if any) isn't obvious based on my appearance.

It's because I have no fear that I or anyone in my immediate family will be deported.

It's because I don't have a serious mental illness.

It's because if I lost my home I have people in my life I could fall back on to help me get back on my feet.

I am privileged in a multitude of ways. I marched for myself on January 21st, but I marched more for those who face a far bigger threat. Even though the threat isn't as big for me or anyone else in similar situations, make no mistake - the threat is still real. You don't even have to agree with abortion, homosexuality, being transgender, atheism, Islam, or illegal immigration. All you have to agree with is treating others the way you would like to be treated. And that's why we march.

We march for ourselves, we march for those who have fewer privileges than us, and we march for those who don't think we need to march.

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