Women’s March

[TW abuse, transphobia, homophobia, racism]

Y’all knew this was coming, didn’t you?

This post is going to be pointing out issues with the Women’s March, and the majority of these issues are to do with White Women.

I wasn’t going to write this post, because there are many voices better placed than mine to do so (and I will link to a bunch of them at the end), but someone at work yesterday was laughing about how political I am, and how I should just calm down. She’s a cishet white woman, and it really pissed me off. So here we are.

I’m basing this on a Facebook post I wrote the other day, and dividing it into 6 parts:

  1. White Women sharing photos of themselves with cops at the March. Polis are not friends if you’re not white. It’s as simple as that. When police show up to Black Lives Matter marches, they do so in riot gear, and shoot to kill. When they showed up to the Women’s March, where there was a majority white women, they wore pussy hats and posed for photos. Just let that difference sit with you for a moment. White women could just mosey up to the police and take pics to post on instagram, whilst there were lawyers sending out arrest advice for Black Women and WOC and Trans Women. The only people I’ve seen posting about how “safe” the march was are white women.
  2. White Women taking and sharing photos without permission. There have been many people complaining about this. Indigenous women telling stories of how white women just walked up and grabbed their ceremonial clothing, taking pictures without permission and rambling on about how they have Indigenous blood. White women touching Black Women’s hair. White Women taking pictures of cute signs and outfits to post online, when doing so might compromise the safety of the Black Women, or WOC or Trans Women (who might not be out in their home life) or Indigenous Women in the photo. Again, White Women were the only ones who were safe at this march, and this disregard for others is going to have lasting damage.
  3. White Women glamourising Suffragettes. There are folks far more eloquent than me who can describe all the problems with the Suffragettes. A quick edition here: Suffragettes were white women of a certain class standing who were working to gain rights for white women of their particular class standing. They used poorer women as pawns in their games, much as cis gay folks used trans folks as their pawns at Stonewall; they needed someone to blame for the trouble, and someone to make them look more reasonable to the people in power. It was a shitty thing, it should not be glamourised at a march that needs to be intersectional.
  4. Many marches had no consideration for disabled folks. Again, these marches absolutely needed to be intersectional, and that includes access for disabled folks. Not just physically disabled folks, many of whom were unable to attend due to transport issues, or unsuitable terrains along the routes, but also folks who’s issues may be invisible at first glance. Where were the quiet spaces for those who suffer social anxiety, or autistic people suffering sensory overload? Where were the sign language interpreters for the deaf women in the march? It all seems fairly obvious when laid out like this, but so many of the marches overlooked these facts.
  5. All the signs based around genitalia. I get it, White Women were marching because they finally realised what Trump is doing is going to affect them. And I get it, reproductive rights are incredibly important. However, cisgender White Women weren’t the only ones marching. Signs screaming “this pussy bites back”, with the intent of letting the patriarchy know women won’t stand for sexual harassment any more are all well and good, but they absolutely exclude Trans Women. Who are more likely to be harassed and murdered, which is a heartbreaking fact. These signs also excluded the fact that many trans men have uteruses, so these reproductive issues affect them too, and that’s before we get to non-binary people. I get it, signs have to be impactful and simple to be seen on a march, but a little more thought could have been put into them.
  6. All the White Women patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Good job, you showed up to one march. Indigenous people have been marching for centuries. Black People have been marching for centuries. Queer people have been marching for centuries. Yet these communities are called out for being “violent” or “causing unrest” when they march. And that is not a good look for White People. If you truly care, you’ll show up. So put your money where your mouth is, and be a body at the next march for Black Lives Matter, or a queer cause. And be a body, not a voice: cishet white people are not who we need to hear from in these causes.

 

Yes, this whole post just makes it sound like I am very angry at white people, and yes, I absolutely am. We yet again highjacked a march and made it all about us. We need to do so much better.

Some suggested reading:

Women of colour are being blamed for dividing the march

Why I’m scared of White Women

women’s march and the selective memory of mainstream feminism

 

Marching with Becky

Despite the Pussy hats, intersectionality shone through

 

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