On Sunday 21st January 2017, one day after the Inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United-States, an estimated 4,814,000 women and men took part in 673 marches worldwide (The Telegraph), to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families” (Women’s March).
“Love Trumps Hate”, “Hope Not Grope”, “My Body, My Choice”, “Trust Women”, “The Pussy Has Claws”, “Keep Your Tiny Hands Off Our Rights”, “There Will Be Hell Toupee”, “Love”, “I’m A Nasty Woman” are just a few examples of what was written on the pieces of cardboard the demonstrators held proudly high. Ranging from the more optimistic and simple to the obviously Trump targeting, from humorous jabs to more serious demands, the banners and the chants at the Women’s Marches around the world sometimes seemed to be expressing differing opinions.
It was those more intense banners which fuelled backlash from anti-feminists. By anti-feminists I not only mean misogynists and sexists, but also those who believe that women and men are equal but believe that feminism has “gone too far”. Feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes, and, just like jihadism in the name of Islam is not representative of the religion, women who preach “man-hating” in the name of feminism are not representative of a rights movement, which incidentally is long overdue (see: hundreds of years of oppression). The controversy-loving journalist and personality Piers Morgan called the women who marched “rabid feminists”.
It is a pity that a straight white man who claims to support female and male equality feels the need to belittle any sign of women standing together to ensure equal rights, simply because it makes him feel “emasculated”. Perhaps if his male ancestors (and male contemporaries in some countries today) had needed a chaperone to leave their home, or had been given the right to vote less than a hundred years ago, or even (surely not?) if the new female president of the United-States had been elected despite violent sexual accusations and had told a journalist to “grab them by the cock”, or maybe even if he had gone to one of the marches to try and understand, then maybe he would not think we are all “feminazis”.
But despite the unfounded and often plain stupid backlash, the ultimate message was unanimous: we are united against any form of violence, hate, discrimination and prejudice against ANYONE AND EVERYONE; being a “nasty woman” does not mean being violent or “man-hating”, it just means that we have spirit and that not all of us are the embodiment of niceness which has been projected onto us as mothers and daughters and wives. Yes, society has come a long way in terms of women’s rights, and I am thankful for that, and, above all, I am lucky enough to experience it. Because millions of women around the world still do not have the same rights as men. I will not let the legacy of women who fought for our rights before me slowly fall away, but I will keep marching to make sure it not only continues to be resilient, but also that the strength to fight and to stand up spreads to other unheard voices, who in turn will one day be encouraged and supported to rise up, and be as lucky as I have been.
Photo credit : Dior