Yesterday was the first time in my memory that I have seen such a universal demonstration of support for one cause. Ignited by the succession of Donald Trump as the President of the United States, men and women of all generations, races, classes and sexualities stood together in protest of anything that might threaten their rights, Trump being the poster-boy of those threats. Feminism was the driving force behind the march, but links were made to issues such as immigration and the environment, addressed through the medium of songs, chants, signs and jokes by hundreds of thousands of people in Washington DC and across the world. It was a colourful, loud, exciting explosion of passionate people and it was amazing to see.
I write this from a ridiculously privileged position, and am lucky enough that although I am nervous about what Trump could do, I am not genuinely scared for my wellbeing. The feeling of being afraid in my own country is utterly foreign to me. Despite being a girl, I have rarely felt at a disadvantage to my male peers. My parents didn’t just give my sister and I equal opportunities as my brother, but pushed us to take them, and my male friends and family have never treated me differently because of my being female. It’s a privilege that a lot of girls don’t have. It is so deeply sad that there are people in America who are honestly frightened for themselves under Trumps presidency, be it because of the colour of their skin, their gender or their sexuality, and it’s quite incredible that so many people came out in support of those who don’t feel safe under their new president.
But the march wasn’t JUST about Donald Trump. It was about men and women alike taking a stand for women’s rights in general, as was stated by the organisers of the march. It is not centred around the popular ‘not my president’ rhetoric but is more directed at the idea of equality and the importance of respecting equal rights, and thus is far greater than just a parade of anti-Trump negativity. It was about freedom in general and giving women and girls the power to be whoever and whatever they want to be. Nevertheless, it was painfully clear that more people showed up in DC for this cause than for Trump’s inauguration the day before, which speaks volumes in itself.
But was it just a “mass hissy fit” as Piers Morgan claimed it to be? Not in the slightest. This is not just “rabid feminists” on a rampage, but free speech at it’s best. It’s not over the top or dramatic to demand respect and stand up for what you believe in. In fact, if Piers Morgan, a savvy and influential personality cannot respect why these protests are necessary, then the need for them is ever greater. The “hissy fit” description itself appears redundant anyway, as although there are plenty of reasons to be angry, most of the pictures you will see from the marches are lit up by the smiles of the masses. People were happy to be there because it is exciting and empowering to feel part of something that matters. They were peaceful and passionate and loud, and although hatred for Donald Trump constituted at least a part of the protest, it was overwhelmingly about spreading love and positivity.
History is largely told as a chronicle of great people doing great things, but for most of the women marching this was not a big moment- after all, it was just one short day out of a whole lifetime. The Women’s Marches that took place yesterday will make the history books not because they will change the world, but because they have shown the rest of the world, particularly the Trump administration, that people will not sit quietly, and it’s humbling to watch. So, it’s a good day to be a girl.