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Marching for Our Rights

Justyna Gorka

Justyna Gorka

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By Sophia Rodriguez ‘19
The effects of Donald Trump’s unprecedented road to the presidency have been felt all over the world. The ideas he voiced threatened to undermine our country’s relations with our neighbors. And throughout the course of his campaign, his rhetoric was punctuated with derogatory remarks towards minorities and anyone who opposed him. One of the groups that fell prey to his derision again and again were women. Now, as demonstrated with the Women’s Marches on January 21st, women are voicing their refusal to have their rights denied by Donald Trump. 
During Trump’s campaign, viewers saw him slam women again and again, from his remarks about  Carly Fiorina’s face to the leak of his 2005 conversation with Billy Bush on an Access Hollywood bus. The wave of resentment from these comments spilled over into the election, and now this resentment is helping fuel a sustained insistence for respect. On January 21st, the day after the inauguration, millions of women and men across the country marched to make their voices heard. Americans marched in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and hundreds of other locations.
In Washington, protestors marched through the streets and arrived at the National Mall, coming practically to the president’s front door. In over 600 locations around the country, people banded together to demand respect for women. After an election season that created one of the deepest political divides our country has seen in recent years, the Women’s Marches promoted a sense of unity. Sophomore Emily Imes, who attended the Women’s March in Washington, says that participating “provided a sense of hope for equality in a nation riddled by pessimism”. As she expressed, the march provided a sense of hope while showing that women would not back down. Wielding signs and wearing pink hats, the women voiced their dissent. 
With a estimate at 3.2 million people across the country gathering together, the marches showed that women would come together to demand respect. Just as their predecessors marched in the early 1900s for the right to vote, women once again took to the streets of Washington to demand their equal rights. These marches, helped along by coordination on social media, turned anger over the election into a positive force for change. Each sign and expression of anger was another reminder to the president that he would not be able to disregard and disrespect women any longer.
One part of the reminder was the headgear the women wore. Many women sported pink hats with cat’s ears, dubbed “pussy hats” by their originators. When knitting enthusiasts Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman heard of the upcoming women’s march, they immediately wanted to support the movement. They thought knitting hats would be the perfect thing, considering the cold temperatures predicted for Washington on the 21st. The catlike appearance of the hats appropriated the term “pussy”, changing it from an expression of belittlement to a weapon of power. While Donald Trump may have used the term to objectify and demean women, it is now being used to show resistance to him. Even though it was considered an offensive term, women are now embracing it to demonstrate pride for who they are. By helping to knit pussy hats, people who could not march could contribute to the sense of unity.
As well as protests happening in the US, demonstrations took place in cities all over the world. In total, an estimated 5 million came together to support women’s rights. Protests and demonstrations happened on every continent, including Antarctica. In London, Paris, Berlin, and a multitude of other cities, women made their voices heard. These women came together to show they would not be held back. 
Even now, women are still planning action. On womensmarch.com organizers have created a “10 Actions for the First 100 Days” plan. Every ten days an action is suggested to mobilize women into continued action. Some of the first involved writing letters to senators and attempting to block Jeff Sessions as attorney general based on his record. These marches were not a one-time thing, but the start of a movement for the president’s full term.
Even though the first marches are done, there is still plenty of action to take. Unity is the strongest force there is, and the women’s insistence for rights cannot be overcome. As Susan B. Anthony said, “Women, their rights, and nothing less”. 

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