For better or worse, I felt a bit cynical today. I wasn’t planning on going to The Women’s March, perhaps because the last march I went to was so disappointing. I went to the Take Back the Night march a few months back and just couldn’t get into it. I felt the presence of men at both to be hampering. At TBTN, they acted as guards and blared chants through megaphones; while supportive, I didn’t think it was inappropriate. The number of men wearing “pink pussy hats” or leading chants at today’s march was similarly aggravating.
While I realize the march was in large part a response to our newly-elected president, I thought the focus on him detracted from the women. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of clever and well-made posters in the crowd, but I couldn’t tell what the main focus was. Were people there because they were passionate about women’s rights or because they really hated Trump?
Lastly–my pink pussy hat. Yes, I wore one. No, I didn’t make it. The friend who invited me was so excited that she had them made for us and I took it as a gesture of friendship. Nevertheless, I felt ambivalent about wearing mine and about the cat/pussy theme. The word “pussy” is still one of the most demeaning terms in the English language and because of its pervasive use in porn, I do not feel it has been successfully reclaimed. Likening angry women to cats (e.g. “cat fight”) still has a decidedly dismissive tone and that use of imagery does not deliver as empowering a message as was needed today.
The whole point is: we’re not angry kitty cats and we’re not walking vaginas. We’re struggling for full citizenship and to be recognized as fully human. We’ve been reduced to our body parts or being likened to various “lesser” beings such as cats for centuries.
Despite all of this, I’m glad I went, if for nothing more than to share the day with a friend. I did have a favorite moment: when I decided to get some music going on my phone and my friend and I danced down the street to “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves.”
*I don’t actually think cats are lesser beings. Most of the cats I’ve known in my life have been of a much higher quality than most of the people I’ve known.