2017 was the year of protests for America. It was the year that started with a concerted effort to question their president, his actions, comments and policies. It was also the year when women decided to put up a united front against any kind of sexual misconduct. The year the Harvey Weinsteins and Aziz Ansaris of the world felt at risk.
While we enjoyed our Saturday, a sea of pink knits or “pussy hats” slowly swelling in numbers took to the streets of the United States of America and the world. Marking the one year anniversary of the Women’s March 2017 – the last march was held on the day of US President Donald Trump’s inauguration – people gathered to keep the discourse of sexual misconduct and other social evils alive.
The Women’s March is about all of us: Angelenos, Americans — standing in solidarity for peace, acceptance, and equality. Thank you, Los Angeles, for coming together and showing the values that unite us. #WMLA2018 #WomensMarch2018
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) January 21, 2018
What does the Women’s March stand for?
Like last year, this Women’s March did not restrict itself to gender equality, as people walked together to raise their voice against initiatives undertaken by the Trump administration, such as the immigration ban, healthcare, racial justice, and police reform, among other issues.
The last march drew criticism for having a narrow purview when it came to women’s concerns as a number of feminist, especially women of colour, had been strongly advocating against police and immigration reform. This year, the organisers ensured that woman of all backgrounds were invited to attend the events.
However, tackling sexual misconduct at a time of TimesUp and MeToo campaigns were at the core of the Women’s March in the US as Hollywood celebrities like Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, and Scarlet Johansson, among others rallied for an end to sexual harassment, sharing their personal experiences of being objectified.
March on the day of government shutdown
It was pitifully symbolic of the sorry state of affairs plaguing Trump administration as the march was held on the day the US government shut down due to gridlock in Congress. By midnight on Saturday, the Congress was stuck trying to reach a deal on immigration.
Forty-five Senate Democrats and five Republicans refused to accept the measure that the Trump administration was trying to put in place. The White House apparently showed “unwillingness to accept a bipartisan proposal to address the nearly 700,000 immigrants in legal limbo after he pledged to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program”, Vox reported.
Even to resolve the shutdown, one side will have to give in, which would mean either the immigrants or their allies will have to be collateral damage.
Show of strength
The Guardian reported that tens of thousands turned up for the march in Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and a large number of other cities in the United States and also all over the world.
What emerged as the victor at the Women’s March all over the world were the posters, taking on issues that people felt needed to be raised.
— Anna North (@annanorthtweets) January 20, 2018
— Katie Dutch (@kitscheart) January 20, 2018
— Rachael Martin (@rachaelmartin99) January 21, 2018
Energy, excitement, enthusiasm at #WomensMarch2018 #ottcity! Thnx to everyone who made it out today – to stand once more in defiance of the sexist, racist attitudes that Trump has emboldened in some. Love & solidarity to all my sisters! #timesup #MeToo #womensmarchottawa #CanFem pic.twitter.com/TIEryN8wUD
— Amira Elghawaby (@AmiraElghawaby) January 20, 2018
Red scarf? Check.
Speech memorized? Almost.
Signs aplenty? OH YEAH.
— Sarah Dalglish (@Sarah_Dlish) January 21, 2018
” I am empowered… by the brightness of this movement, the strength and the unity that this movement has provided. It gives me hope that we are moving toward a place where our sense of equality can truly come from within ourselves.” #ScarlettJohansson #womensmarch2018 #London pic.twitter.com/WkhKwLJ33V
— AllBright (@weareAllBright) January 21, 2018
The only dampener to the exuberant spirit was Donald Trump’s tweet about the march, which drew heavy criticism from the Twitterati
You, as a public figure, in a position of power have spoken about women in a derogatory manner on many accounts. You gained more power when you became President and take away important women’s healthcare. We are NOT celebrating. We are warning you: THE FUTURE IS FEMALE.
— Anie Delgado (@anie_delgado) January 21, 2018
Did this Cheeto really just take credit for the Women’s March, as if they are marching to celebrate his successful presidency? If this isn’t the start of Hitler Germany, idk what is. https://t.co/rZCBAW9Qu6
— Nancy Ramos (@NancySpanelli) January 21, 2018
Your biggest accomplishment yet, Mr President. Millions of people around the world protesting YOU! 300,000 in Chicago; 200k NYC; several hundreds of thousands in both Philly & So Cal. Most unpopular POTUS ever! Winning! pic.twitter.com/vnEapGu8AR
— keith hall (@kfhall0852) January 21, 2018