Photo by Anastacia Kellogg
One year ago, the Women’s March in DC and its sister marches across the nation became a symbol of resistance against the Trump presidency. Photos of the crowded Women’s March in DC and the poorly attended presidential inauguration were publicized side by side. One year into that presidency, the Women’s March has returned, this time with the slogans “Power to the Polls” and “Hear Our Vote.” January 20th in Los Angeles saw a repeat of the sea of pink hats and punny posterboards as organizers reported that anywhere from 500,000 to 750,000 people marched from Pershing Square to City Hall. In this past year, the March has become widely credited as the unified expression of America’s discontent.
However, the March is far from being without criticism, not only from the conservatives that it intentionally challenges, but from those that it claims to represent. Many observers last year spoke up about the overpowering white feminism of the crowds.
Some of our staff shared their own experiences participating in – or avoiding – the 2018 Women’s March.
I have attended the Women’s March for the past two years: the first time in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the second in Los Angeles, California. I went into both marches optimistic about the turn-out and the widespread support for women’s rights and other relevant social issues. However, the intense focalization on female anatomy instead of the collective experiences of women actively exclude trans women and non-binary people. While I think this energy and mobilization of the general public is a great thing, it needs to be redirected to a cause that is more inclusive of all people, not just women with vaginas.
– Shannon Kasinger, Staff Writer
Looking into a sea of predominantly white women, one could observe that the Women’s March was populated with bright pink “pussy” hats and signs declaring the power of “female” anatomy in current divisive times. As a queer, transgender person of color, I did not attend the Women’s March this year. That is not to say that I do not see its importance. In times like these, where many people of color and minorities live in fear under a white supremacist regime, it is refreshing to see millions of people holding up signs and supposedly marching for our rights. However, it would be incorrect to consider the Women’s March an inclusive event that truly pushes for radical change. The demographic that has dominated the Women’s Marches have been white women. It goes without saying that white people experience tremendous privilege in America. It is easy for white women to march and act as if they are participating in activism without actually standing up for minorities, people of color, and queer people in their everyday lives. At the end of the day, white women can take off their “pussy” hats and put down their signs and continue to experience white privilege.
– Jasper, Staff Writer
I didn’t go to the Women’s March last year because I couldn’t, and I didn’t go this year because I was tired. I was tired of seeing cis white women and their “pussy hats” as a representation of their version of feminism that excludes trans people and people of color. I think the event is amazing in bringing together a wide group of people, but it is disorganized and not everyone is able to attend, or feel safe attending, so it can be inaccessible.
– Kai Huang, Photographer
I enjoyed it. Despite the overabundance of pussy hats that I do feel alienate trans women, I saw a lot of people who were advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ people with posters that supported them among protests for other issues such as racism, immigration, fascism, etc.. There still needs to be more inclusively for trans women and I hope that Women’s March 2019 will be more aware.
– Rachel Darmawangsa, Copy Editor
This year in Los Angeles, as if in response to last year’s criticism, the lineup of speakers heavily emphasized the Black Lives Matter movement and praised black women activists. Meanwhile, marchers in the crowd held signs with slogans like “make it intersectional” and “support your sisters, not just your cis-ters.” Viola Davis cautioned the audience “that it’s not just about clapping your hands and screaming and shouting every time someone says something that sounds good. It’s about keeping it rolling once you go home.”
On that note, we would do well to remember the core rallying cry of this year’s Women’s March – “Power to the Polls.” OutWrite would like to remind everyone the importance of voting, both in upcoming local elections, statewide elections, and November’s general elections.