Why They Marched
I'm surrounded by Fox News Christians (and a few atheists) lampooning the recent Women's March in Washington, because they find it ridiculous. They see this demonstration as the acting out of entitled citizens who are conspicuously free of the oppression faced by women in places like Saudi Arabia. These critics cite various U.S. laws designed to prevent discrimination...the laws apparently solving completely the challenges of sexism and gender inequality within our borders.
A peaceful, pro-woman event takes place in America, and a whole culture of people doesn't understand. And apparently, they don't really wish to.
The women standing in solidarity gathered (peacefully) to draw attention to the hard-won inroads made against gender inequality in this country, and to declare that they have real concerns that a possible Trump-led shifting of the Supreme Court (possibly populating it with the same types of evangelicals he's seeking to appoint in other positions) might reverse some important women's rights victories.
Of course, women have it so much better here than in places like Saudi Arabia. But those who think that sexism isn't a problem in America haven't listened to (or don't care about) our new President's own attitudes about women.
Attitudes influence decision and action.
Trump has long reduced women to the size of their breasts, the shape of their stomachs, their external appeal as a man's plaything. A Trump wife is a sandwich-making servant who (if you'll remember his 1994 interview with ABC News) needs to have dinner ready, or "I go through the roof." He said in that same conversation that putting a wife to work "is a very dangerous thing." (How's that knuckle-dragging going, Donald?)
The women marching have watched Donald Trump brag that he could've nailed Lady Diana, The Princess of Wales (nevermind her work as a human rights leader and her value as a human being). They read the reports of Miss Teen USA pageant contestants being ogled by creepy Trump in their dressing rooms. They watch Trump's boastings (on tape!) about enjoying the celebrity power to grab women by their genitals (also known as "sexual assault").
The Sexist In Chief is now a tone-setter in American culture, and many women (and men) see it as a dangerous step backward in terms of attitudes. They want women seen beyond mere Trumpville window dressing. They have real trepidation about cultural attitudes about women on his watch. They also want the rights of women protected in relation to their own bodies and personal reproductive decisions.
They're not marching because they think they live in Saudi Arabia. They're marching because they don't want to lose the hard-won ground gained for women, and for everyone.
Again, it's true that American women have a tremendous amount of latitude, opportunity and freedom, especially compared to Islamist societies that cover and silence the female under a male fist. We have many hugely successful and laudable women whose lives and successes have been made possible through the freedom and liberty inside these borders. We have success stories, and we should be proud of a free culture (and the activists) that made them possible.
But it's simply wrongheaded to declare the gender issue solved in the United States, and the newly elected president provides proof of that.
- Seth Andrews