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Broke Wife, Big City
Why I went to
the women’s march
By Aprill Brandon
I’ve been trying to write this godforsaken article for hours now. So
much of my social media feed is cluttered with people demanding to know
why women across this country felt the need to protest and, as someone
who participated, I felt it was my duty to explain. To respond.
To…ugh…get a dialogue going.
I started a bunch of sentences. About how we’re fighting for equal pay.
For the right to paid maternity and paternity leave. For reasonable
access to affordable healthcare. For the right not to have our
genitalia grabbed by strangers. For equality for everyone. On and on
There were so many reasons. But I was getting increasingly frustrated
the more I tried to justify why I decided to exercise my American right
to peacefully protest. And it took me awhile (clearly) but I think I
finally figured out why I was having so much trouble.
I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if you don’t “get it.”
I spent the day surrounded by a sea of people who did. And they spilled
out into the streets to make themselves heard. They wanted their
government, who works for them, for all of us, to know how a huge chunk
of us felt about the direction we were headed as a nation. And it was
beautiful and life-affirming and gave me hope and made me realize that
this nation is already great and there are huge swaths of us fighting
to make it even better.
But most importantly, it made me realize that the burden of explaining
why we did this didn’t have to fall on my shoulders. Because if the
sight of hundreds of thousands of women, men and children all uniting
for equal rights bothers you, maybe you need to examine why it bothers
you. If the idea of a level playing field bothers you, then perhaps you
should examine why it bothers you.
Because if you don’t get why women’s rights are human rights, I can’t
make you understand. Nor can I make you feel how oppressive it is to
hear a lifetime’s worth of negative comments about how you look, your
weight, your wrinkles, your clothes, your makeup, your attitude, your
competence, your drive, your passion, your sexuality.
If you see nothing wrong with blaming a rape victim for being raped
rather than blaming the rapist, I can’t make you see how wrong and
cruel that is.
If you don’t think it’s appalling that a country as wealthy and
advanced as America has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in
the world, I can’t make you be appalled.
If you don’t think it’s criminal that we pass laws that punish children
for having poor parents, I can’t make you see how reprehensible that is.
If you can’t possibly fathom why a minority or a gay person or an
immigrant or a young girl would be scared for their safety, I can’t
make you try to imagine what it’s like to be them.
I can’t make you care about other people in this country. I can’t make
you understand that just because you have it good and I have it good in
this country doesn’t mean that everyone else does. These are all things
you need to try to understand for yourself. Because clearly a huge
portion of our population already understands these things.
We will not go backward in this great nation of ours that I personally
happen to love. Not without a fight. If you understand nothing else,
understand that. The 1950’s, the 1980’s, the 1800’s…whatever time
period you thought America was great and are trying to get back to was
only great for a small minority.
But I, and millions of other Americans who marched Saturday, want it
great for all.
And if you don’t understand that, that’s on you.
Can’t get enough of Aprill? Can’t wait until next week?
Check out her website at http://aprillbrandon.com/