Today, millions of women across the US marched against Donald Trump’s policies concerning women and other marginalized citizens. I’m proud of those women, and proud to be one. As I look at the photos flooding Facebook showing these women in action, I’m also surprised to see posts from other women who do not support these marches. Everyone has the right to champion what they choose, but when I read the following words:
"There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this
world but MYSELF. I do not blame my circumstances or
problems on anything other than my own choices or even
that sometimes in life, we don't always get what we
want. I take responsibility for myself.
I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend.
I am not held back in life but only by the walls I
choose to not go over which is a personal choice.
I was both happy and sad. Why such a mixed response?
I’m happy that THESE women who have expressed these thoughts feel empowered to do so. I’m happy that they’ve never met with the discrimination of not being a man. I’m happy they don’t feel held back by anyone but themselves.
However, I am saddened that THESE women don’t realize that they are standing on the shoulders of every woman who fought and struggled for the rights that THESE women now enjoy and take for granted.
Perhaps, THESE women have never had to deal with being turned down for a job because of their gender, but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women have never been turned down for a $140 bank loan because “I might get pregnant and not pay it off.” but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women were never shunned at their job because “I took a good-paying job from a man who needed it to support his family when all I needed it for was shopping.”, but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women have never been told they couldn’t apply at a certain college because it only accepted men, but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women have never been assaulted by a man who wouldn’t take no for an answer, but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women have never had to take a sick child from their bed in order to meet—in person—with a mortgage loan officer to prove they weren’t “some kind of a slob” so they could continue to pay the house payment, but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women have never been offered a raise or better position if they were willing to perform sexual favors, but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women have never been told they could make a ticket go away if they were only a little friendlier, but I have.
Perhaps, THESE women have never had men expose themselves to them because they must be wanting it, but I have.
I stand on the shoulders of the women who went before me. That’s why I can vote, drive a car, be a single mom if I choose, practice birth control, get a good education, hold down a job that will pay the bills, and walk with my head held high and not feel as a lesser human being.
I will continue to fight so that my daughter, granddaughters, and great granddaughters will never have to experience the discrimination that I’ve had to deal with for the majority of my life.
I say “Thank you” to the women who went before me. I say “Thank you” to the women who marched today to make certain that we don’t go backwards in time and freedom. And I can only hope that THESE women who don’t feel the need to support the marchers can, at least have the courtesy to say “Thank you” to all the courageous women in the past who made it possible for them to feel as empowered as they do today.