Not My March

Halle Hershberger

November 7, 2017

The current women’s movement is based in rage and fear, rather than compassion and love. After Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 Presidential Election, many American women were outraged and fearful of Donald Trump’s future policies towards women. In retaliation, a march was announced and a movement was revived to fight against the newly elected President. The leaders of the march argue they practice “intersectional” feminism, which advocates for women of all races and beliefs. Even though this movement claimed to fight for all people, not all American women have joined this new fight and many who associated themselves with conservative values were alienated from the march. The organizers of the march announced on their website that their platform is pro-choice, advocating for “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people.” New Wave Feminists, a pro-life organization who opposes President Trump, was removed from the event list due to their pro-life views. Their exclusion did not stop some pro-life women from marching, but removing the pro-life group from the event contradicts the notion that this movement fights for diversity of beliefs. Finally, the march demonstrated that women are divided in their understanding of equality and the methods used to gain respect.

The current women’s movement relies on worldwide marches and protests to express their arguments. However, people participating in the marches can be seen carrying signs with profanity and inappropriate rhymes to convey their message. While these marchers have the right to share their opinion in this manner, their word choice detracts from their overall message. In fact, the women carrying signs create an outrageous spectacle by offending the onlookers. Their word choice and mode of action are not effective, because it portrays women as victims and implies they should be equal only because they have been oppressed. Furthermore, this places barriers on the women marching, because any recognition given is not for their merit, but rather their outlandish antics. The leaders of this movement do not understand that until they change their mode of action, they will not gain their desired equality or justice. Respect from education and hard work lasts longer than attention one gains from standing on the sidewalk wearing offensive clothing and holding profane signs. These women will play the same narrative, but will not see change because they want immediate results from their protests that provide negative attention rather than respect.

It cannot be denied that small traces of sexism still exist in America, but women can change that in more effective ways than simply expressing their angst. If women want men to see them as equals, they should continue to excel in academics, and demonstrate they have the knowledge to contribute valuable ideas in the workplace and in the home. Women at work should feel confident and empowered to express their thoughts, but many times women tend to hold back from conveying their ideas. Their reluctance is rooted in the insecurities of being wrong or not taken seriously. However, an education focused on cultivating critical thinking skills, writing, and communicating arguments in a clear and concise manner can develop confidence in a young woman to take charge. Furthermore, a sound education instills leadership skills, which are beneficial for women at home or at work. If the current women’s movement embraced and encouraged education rather than hateful messages against politicians, then the country would eventually see increases in the number of women as CEOs, professors, and scientists. Women who sit at the table and contribute insightful ideas will gain respect and recognition, not because they are women, but for their valuable thoughts. This is where women can make an impact and alert the world that they have ideas to share. Whether it is in the workplace or in the home, women have the opportunity to shape the people around them, but the change starts with education.

Moreover, education must teach young women what it means to be an American and the history of our country. The Founders argued “all men are created equal” in terms of their natural rights given by God. Their use of the word “men” pertained to all of mankind, not just men living in the colonies. These rights included life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. In explaining the natural rights of a slave woman, Abraham Lincoln stated, “In some respects she is certainly not my equal; but in her natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands without asking leave of anyone else, she is my equal, and the equal of all others.” Since the formation of the United States, women have had the same natural rights as men. Although women had a harder time entering into academia and the workplace, they overcame the obstacles by working hard and proving their merit. This understanding is crucial for women when arguing for equality for themselves and others.

When women march out of love and respect for their country and its principles, I will march. As long as rage and revenge are the motives behind the movement, this will not be my march. I cannot participate in a movement that has misunderstood the meaning of equality and alienates itself from our Founding principles. As an educated woman, I want to see more females in leadership positions, but I don’t believe women should be rewarded based off their gender. The beauty of the American Republic lies in the opportunity for each individual to make their own path. Each woman has the chance to rise or fall on her own merit, but she has to make the decision to act. The leaders of the women’s movement will march and march, but will not see improvement until they accept that change occurs when one accepts the truth revealed in a true American education.