Women's March on Washington activates Feminist Movement
It seems all revolutions begin with the majestic merging of sensations of gross injustice with self righteousness and end in a mass walk of determination. Both NOW’s strike for equity in 1970 and Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington in 1963 featured such sensations and the upcoming Women’s March is no different.
The Women’s March on Washington is happening Saturday, Jan. 21 in Washington D.C., along with other marches across the country.
The march will bring people of all walks of life who are very concerned with the policies supported by Donald Trump and the people he is appointing to top government positions together, said Regina Marchi, associate professor in the Department of Journalism Media studies.
“I feel compelled to attend the Women's March in D.C. because not only am I a feminist on a normal day, the recent election results have only made me more passionate,” said Clarissa Gordon, School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Gordon feels that anyone who cares about women's rights or feels threatened by the imminent and formidable presidential administration should march or feel inclined to march.
“Many people think protesting is pointless, but that idea is far from true,” Gordon said.
The sophomore referenced the Dakota Access Pipeline as an example of the value in protesting. Gordon pointed out that protests are about taking a stand against discrimination, and that the louder the voices are, the more change can happen.
“They want to show the world that a majority of Americans did not vote for Donald Trump and strongly disagree with his views. They want to show Congress that there will be significant public opposition to any efforts to undo the progress that has been made over the past 50 years. In a healthy democracy, it is crucial for the public to protest in the face of injustice. The First Amendment gives us this right,” Marchi said.
Here at Rutgers, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has been organizing buses to transport students, staff and faculty to the march in D.C.
“I feel it will be more meaningful to march in the nation's capital as the defunding of planned parenthood and repeal of the ACA have become very likely possibilities,” Gordon said.
Gordon said it is important for her to go all the way to D.C. instead of somewhere closer like New York or Trenton because she wants to be as close to Trump and the government in order to make the strongest impression she feels she can.
“I feel like I’m being a part of history as well as a part of defining what is means to be a feminist in 2017. To me it means raising my voice about blatant inequalities by our government between the sexes,” said Mackenzie Kunkle, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.
Bringing to light the “women” in the Women’s March, Marchi pointed out that several of the goals that have already been achieved by the feminist movement have been targeted by the President-elect and his supporters, claiming they want to dismantle them.
Marchi identified some of the achievements, which include prohibiting of sexual harassment and gender discrimination at work, in schools or in sports, the establishment of accessible family planning clinics and reproductive health services, as well as provisions in the Affordable Care Act that make it illegal for insurance companies to charge women higher health insurance rates than males and that offer free annual preventative check-ups, STI-screenings and birth control.
“(The March) will attract everyday citizens like my 83-year-old mother-in-law, who believes strongly in women's rights and whose family had to flee Nazi Germany because they were Jewish. She, like millions of other Americans, understands what hateful rhetoric can lead to, and even though she has problems with her knees, she is going to the march,” Marchi said.
Rachel Frome, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said she is marching because people are not safe. There is a demand for the upholding of safety of human bodies as we look at Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock and immigrant rights.
“It's about using my agency, privilege and body as a white woman. It's about showing up for social justice. Dissent is the most powerful message I can think of sending to those bodies who are determined safe, being an ally to those who are by existence unsafe,” Frome said.
Gordon believes that the election wasn’t about a Republican winning and a Democrat losing. She said if it were any other Republican, the nation wouldn’t be as devastated as it is.
Gordon used the words “depressed” and “defeated” when speaking about her feelings at the moment when all of the ballots were counted and Donald Trump officially won the presidential race of 2016.
“With the rise of Trump, there has been a significant rise in hate crimes and harassment around the country, and many people are extremely concerned,” Marchi said.