The Women’s March: A Cynical Perspective

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. 

 

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12 thoughts on “The Women’s March: A Cynical Perspective

  1. I would have struggled to wear the hat I tell you. Would probably have lost a friend. Is a hat important? In terms of symbolism, yes, and that is what a lot of feminism fights against. Also, I agree about language reclamation re pussy. Appalling word. Used in context (rather than as a derogatory term) I prefer cunt. It’s very rare language reclamation works. Gay is moderately successful but I still see it being used abusively.whilever words are used negatively then reclamation hasn’t achieved its goal.

    Seems to have been a good international turnout. To what effect?

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      1. I hadn’t but now I have. Offlineness is good. Catching up is diff.

        Couple of points about the Grauniad article.

        Podemos is going nowhere in Spain (I live partly in Spain). The arsehole spanish pm Rajoy was struggling to get into power again but Ciudanos, NOT, Podemos, did a deal with him. Ciudanos wanted MPs to be accountable for anything illegalm but Rajoy refused. Oh yes. MPs are above the law. JFC. Disgusting, I tell you.

        In terms of what happens next. Good question. A very good one. Taking direct action is tough. Peacable protests are very feel good. Hitting pockets would be better.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel the same way you do about the ‘puddy’ hats. .. (which is the word I used on my Noseybook page)
    I wouldn’t have worn one b/c I really object to the word. BUT I do see why women wanted to reclaim the word and disassociate it from its sexual context. (Perhaps an effort to lessen tRump’s power?)

    I’m glad I went to the march in Halifax (Nova Scotia). I attended alone and not only was it the first time I’d ever taken part in anything like that, but it was empowering to be part of a world-wide effort to draw attention to women’s concerns. I appreciated the chance to demonstrate my support for women in general and, in particular, women in the States who now have a president who has shown no respect for 52% of the population.

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    1. Yeah but Carmen, what has it achieved? And, on reclamation (about which I can rant for a year and a day, let alone a rain and a gale) give me one single word that women have successfully reclaimed. Would you like a list of abusive female terms? Here’s a few for starters: cunt, twat, bitch, cow, slag, want me to continue? Let alone pussy, insert vomit bucket.

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      1. Do you mean, what have the marches achieved? I think it’s as I’ve stated – that it has drawn attention to the fact that women are concerned about a blatantly disrespectful man in a position of power. I know what you are saying about words but it is the ATTEMPT that I highlighted. I understand that.

        Also, keep in mind that the marches gave a platform to many of our mentors – you know, to us NASTY women. 🙂
        (I have to capitalize to emphasize; don’t know how to italicize)

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      2. Jeez Carmen, I’m asleep. Italicise is using the funny signs. In the first you add an i, in the last you add a backslash, ie /i, both within the sideways vs.

        I am impressed with the marches. Just, what next? And actually, wtf have we not had more solidarity before. / rant

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      3. Thanks for the techno advice – I’ll put it to use immediately.
        What can I say? You keep advocating online and they’ve marched and drawn attention all across the world.
        I support both efforts. I’m just thankful he’s really #notmypresident, while empathasizing with those whose president he really is. I just got up (it’s 5:20 a.m) and it’s coffee time.

        I’m glad you got the opportunity to march – and /dance/i – ‘Rain’. 🙂

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