Why I'm joining the Women's March on Saturday

Friday, January 20, 2017

I'm not an activist. Never have been. I'm not comfortable making signs, marching in the streets, yelling out, or participating in any public displays. I don't want to bring attention to myself. It seems so brash and unladylike. And I was raised to be a good girl- don't question authority or challenge the status quo. It's my job to just be good and do good in my small sphere of influence; quietly, without drawing attention to myself.

It's not that this was overtly taught to me by my parents (my 5 siblings and I have very strong opinions and share them openly with each other), but the culture in which I grew up conditioned me to not speak back to authoritative figures. 'Follow your leaders- they will never lead you astray.' This message was given in a religious context but it sunk in for all aspects of my life. I've realized that my natural inclination is not to challenge authoritative figures, whether in church, school, or work. I've had to work hard to change this.

So there's a Women's March on Washington happening this weekend with sister marches throughout the US (including San Francisco). I've decided to go and participate. I've never done something like this before and I wanted to take a moment to write down my reasons for participating. So here goes:

The San Francisco Women's March facebook page has a statement about the purpose of the march: 'We march to support and inspire each other and the nation to celebrate, honor and protect our diversity, freedom and human rights.' That's a beautiful statement, but also very general so I want to share my personal reasons for joining the march.

First of all, a little perspective. I realize that in many ways, I have a wonder life. I have opportunities that very few people (regardless of gender) have had during the course of history. I've been able to get a world-class education, travel the world, use indoor plumbing, live in a relatively peaceful era, use an electric toothbrush, and have a career that gives me financial freedom and intellectual stimulation. Throughout the thousands of years of recorded history, how many people have had all of this? Very few.

So I start with feelings of gratitude. But I've also experienced a small taste of the discrimination that has reigned for hundreds of years. Sometimes, I feel like a second-class citizen because I'm a woman. I've struggled with it at church, school, and work. Having a male coworker interrupt me, speak over me, or reiterate my exact point without acknowledging my contribution is so commonplace that I almost don't even notice it. And as far as the sexism in Silicon Valley and startups in particular, it can be bad. Just think of a frat house and add lots of money and huge egos and that'll give you a good idea of what goes on (more for another post).

So why am I marching on Saturday? I'm marching for hope. I'm marching to remember the legacy of all the women and men before me that have sacrificed to get me to this point. I'm marching to remind the incoming administration that women not only matter, we are equals. I'm marching as a reminder to myself that women are powerful, that we've made great strides for equality, and that we will continue to make progress. I'm marching as a reminder to all who listen and watch that we still have a ways to go.

I may not be loud, but I won't be silent.
Time to march...


wynnsta said...

Amen. I'll be there with you. (Sorry about the job..)

Lindapalooza All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger