We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you the following special announcement regarding items seen on social media since the 2017 Women’s March.
But first a confession:
I did not march. I should have marched and I could have marched, but I didn’t. In fact, the Princess and I had planned to attend the march in Madison. It would have meant changing plans we had already made with other people, but we hoped they would understand. Because the thought of us walking together as mother and daughter showing our support for womankind and united in our commitment to human rights sounded absolutely awesome. But then as word spread about the march and the size and scope of the event grew, the logistics became an issue and we were forced to reconsider.
But we were there in spirit. And we knew we would be represented because the folks who were marching were in effect marching for all of us. Not just white women or young women, healthy women or rich women, or able-bodied women or pretty women. ALL women. Plus immigrants, the underprivileged, and others whose rights are constantly under attack by those who know and understand them the least.
So instead we spent the day with my mother-in-law, which may not sound like a landmark event until you consider the fact that it was the first time I have ever spent an entire day with my mother-in-law since I met the Jarhead. Not only that, but it was the first time the Princess has spent the day with her dad’s mom since she was two months old and I was in the hospital having emergency surgery.
I am not alone in having skipped the march, nor am I alone in having wanted to march. In fact, whether I did or did not attend the march is totally beside the point.
However, there are some women who did not march that day who are not content to have sat this one out or simply found something better to do that day. Instead, they are criticizing those who did participate and mocking them for it.
Now I’m a big believer in free speech, so they can say what they want to say. No matter how stupid their words, or how ignorant of fact, or how loaded with middle class privilege their words are, they have the right to speak their minds.
Fortunately, so do I.
And so, to all of you scoffing at the marchers with your #notmy march:
Good for you. You have everything you need and want. You can take care of yourself and you don’t need anyone fighting for you, thanks very much. That’s great. As a woman, I am genuinely both happy for and proud of you.
But consider this: The only reason you have what you have now—including the right to voice your opinions on social media—is because of those who came before you and who fought for YOU. Yes, long before you were born—and I don’t mean months or years but DECADES and in some cases a CENTURY before you drew your first breaths—others fought so you could vote, own property, drive, marry the person of your choosing, stay single, use birth control, go to college, get a job, have a career, demand equal pay for equal work AND speak your female mind in public. You may have legitimately earned what you can claim as your own today, but you wouldn’t have SQUAT right now were it not for the folks who marched, led protests, got arrested, were beaten, publicly shamed and humiliated, and went to court for your right to mock today’s activists. You are the beneficiaries of their blood, sweat, and tears. You have things for which they fought and reaped in many cases not one single reward. Do not forget that.
The same goes for some of you sharing and commenting on photos of women in the military with the caption “This is how REAL women march.”
I like to believe this one was intended to be fun. A joke to be shared between military women and by friends of military women. And that’s cool. Esprit de corps is a wonderful thing.
But from a few of the comments accompanying the posts it seems that some folks are using it to take a swipe at the marchers. As if marches and protests aren’t worthwhile, and that those of us who have not served in the military have nothing to contribute to their country.
To the folks who happen to feel this way, I say: I’m genuinely happy for and proud of our women who have served in the military. As a citizen, I am also grateful for their service, and as someone who has spent YEARS arguing with chauvinistic servicemen about the lack of equality for women in the military, I’m also thrilled to know that times have changed.
But before claiming the high ground and insinuating that those of us who did not serve in the military are not “real” women—before you look down on those who march on main street instead of in formation, and who fight wars with words instead of automatic weapons—remember this: It wasn’t that long ago that women earned the right to serve in the military, and it’s been even less time since our choice of military fields were limited to nursing and clerical work. And it’s only in THIS century that women could fly an aircraft, serve in combat, and serve as drill instructors.
Those changes did not happen overnight, and unless you are much older than I am, you are not the reason these changes took place. It is only because women of earlier generations marched, protested, argued, got arrested and went to court for the right to serve our country, and the right to choose how to serve it. We are the beneficiaries of the blood, sweat, and tears of women who were denied rights we now enjoy.
So be proud. Be happy. That’s what we all want and most of us deserve.
But remember to be grateful. And if you can’t be grateful, at least don’t be disdainful.
Love and peace to all.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.