Women’s March: the Day After
by Natalie Peña
On Friday at work I frantically began to think what I would do this weekend. All week I had talked to my patients about owning their bodies, reminding them that the choices they wanted to make with their bodies are valid, and that they are the person who can know their body with the intimacy to heal. I decided I needed to write my ideas in red.
As a AfroLatina Queer feminist I am use to talking to people the difference between multiple types of feminism. I am use to being uncomfortable in rooms of white women who are also feminists and I am often triggered with polite patriarchy. I don’t mean by holding doors and not saying thank you, I mean highly literate men suddenly being interested in the women’s struggle and not picking up book like they would if they wanted to learn about anything else. But today am beyond uncomfortable, I am motivated by all the women who would be marching but are not for various reasons and the women whom will March and go back to their non-political lives.
Women and POC deal with so much shit everyday, that being said, I am so happy for all the folx who had a chance to scream and yell and tell people to fuck off, because historically there have been few spaces to do so. Fortunately for me this is something I do daily (with the support of my fierce ass sisters). Working in Reproductive Justice my day-to-day is asking patients how they arrived at the clinic and how I can help them. Everyday I meet 10-15 women and on some days 3-5 men who have made reproductive choices or would like to make reproductive choices that are require medical attention or medical facilitation. Therefore, the Women’s March on Washington seems like where I would want to be as a feminist who spends her days navigating sexual choice, family planning and sexual health literacy.
In the end I decided not to March. I decided I would not March for liberal feminist ideals. I decided I will not March for Hope, which is what many activists and organizers have created today a sense of hope for women and the future. The youth that have reminded us not to be afraid of Trump. For our immigrants rights activists, our water protects our uteri protectors this nation has failed you and one March will not change this. For our Muslim women who spoke today and reminded us of what is at stake for us this March will not protect you and your families. This is obvious, but these parade politics share the illusion of political power.
From a Facebook perspective, people watching the March could see commentators on this live feeds of DC stating “women already have rights, what are you arguing about?” This act of being oblivious is to me, the lowest tier of misogyny, but to many Americans this is where they are at. I agree that we must meet people where they’re at but rights are bullshit if not enforced by the state. What women don’t have is political power ! But that is not what people are demanding today, which is why I’m ranting.
For many women today is symbolic AF. Protesting the president, and this administration for some folks is about racism, living wages, sexism and reproductive access. Mobilization for these issues are great but each of these without the other futile if there is no end goal.
But can we ask ourselves why did it take this to get here? How many “rights” must be taken away for us to arm ourselves to protect our bodies?
Teaching our children civil disobedience is great and for many a monumental moment, but for some it is as far in the political sphere that some women will go, and for many who organized this March getting bodies on the ground is a great feat.
It is capitalism and imperialism and this nationalistic now fascist regime that is killing us, it is the nice police officer protecting himself who’s killing us, it is the woman who decides that that other women who need emergency services should have known better who is killing us, and the feeling of being on the streets among your peers is great when it is used for action, but by itself does not do anything.
For other women and queer folks who have been doing this work for a long time is it just another day. And for people who are not willing to continue this work, it is a day for many liberals to feel good about their participation in a parade. So you could say you were there.
But what happens after? When the police is still killing us, #PlannedParenthood still being defunded and millions of people will lose access to healthcare, we are still being deported?
#Nastywomen (Hillary supporters) does not compare to poor woman, to black woman to undocumented women in this country and empowerment is great but does not directly build political power for these women but it does allow you to say pussyfoot without blushing. Women deciding to be vulgar break binary barriers, cool, do what makes you feel most empowered.The most marginalized women are still doing all the things they have today. These speeches do not change their circumstances.
But I am asking you to envision what will!
What can you do after today, how will we continue to organize to liberate our people.
Suggested Reading: “I’ll pass on “Unit and the Women’s March,” “Why I’m Skipping the Women’s March on Washington [OPINION]”