Let’s get this out of the way: if you are going, I think that’s awesome. I think it’s very important to demonstrate in a multitude of ways what you want from your government, and protests are a completely valid way to do so (not that you needed me to validate you!) However, I’m choosing to sit this one out.
There are many reasons I won’t be marching tomorrow. The first and foremost is that this is the start of a marathon. I don’t want to start out sprinting and then get burned out two years into fighting the good fight. This is a concern for anyone, but particularly for me, because of the emotional labor that goes into just following politics, let alone being active in them. Long time readers here know I have bipolar disorder and a history of severe depression and suicidal ideation. I need to pace myself.
Relatedly, I have anxiety about being in large, moving crowds. I get pissy just getting off the train and into the station, so multiplying that by thousands doesn’t really seem like a good idea for me, for the people around me, or for the cause.
The next reason is financial. We live in the suburbs. It costs money to get into DC. As I mentioned in my recent blog post, I don’t have much. My bills are higher than my income. I’m working to fix that in a number of ways, but I don’t really have the extra cash to spend on traveling to and from DC proper, or for buying sign making materials, or the approved bags to carry ID, money, energy bars, bottles of water, and maalox. (I don’t think the DC cops are likely to escalate situations, but we bus in cops from out of town and they may.)
Finally, and most importantly as far as this particular event is concerned, I have reservations about the organization of the march. I think they have been (unintentionally) exclusionary, particularly to transwomen. I understand that not every event has to be for everybody, but any event that bills itself as feminist has to be intersectional to actually be a feminist event. I have a friend who is anti-choice* who was considering attending a sister march but was afraid she would be turned away due to her stance on abortion. I encouraged her to go if that was her only reservation. I don’t think the march as a whole or any individual marchers would send her away. But the march organizers coupled with and then de-coupled from an anti-choice feminist organization recently, and that is troubling, and there’s a correlation between genitals and womanhood being made (pussy hats, can’t grab this pussy, etc) that, while understandable, is unfortunately excluding women the same way “save the tata”campaigns do–by reducing us to body parts, specifically body parts that not all of us have. There’s nothing saying that everyone involved has to agree on every single point of the march/organizers platform, so while exclude people who do disagree with one, or alienate fellow women?
I realize no political movement or event is perfect. I cannot wait for one that is because I will always be waiting. But this is not the event for me. And again, if it is the one for you (hopefully the first one of many over the course of this administration) I think that that is fantastic and support you in your protest. I’m just going to register my views in a different way, tomorrow and many other times over the next 1459 days.
*she prefers the term “pro-life” but I believe you can be pro-life and still be pro-choice, and it’s my blog, so nyeah.