Stettner: Why the women’s march is important

Alexandra Stettner

If there’s one thing I won’t forget from all the news and absurdity that came out of the 2016 election, it’s the video that was released of Donald Trump bragging about grabbing a woman by the pussy.

I don’t care if you think it implies sexual assault or not (even though it does). More than anything, his statement shows a complete lack of respect for a woman’s dignity, her body and her mind. Women are more than pieces of pussy to be grabbed at on a millionaire’s whim.

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Some might argue that these words don’t matter, but they do. Let’s not forget one in five women are sexually assaulted, women still make less than men (the numbers are even more staggering for women of color), fundamental health concerns for women are questioned and women still float around 25 percent of representation in government. Women are not equal. Sure we can vote, but what good does that do if we are reduced to our sexuality? When I try to have a professional conversation with a man, should I assume he’s only thinking about me naked? Words matter because they are a vocal representation of our societal values.

That’s why I marched in January. Millions of women around the world marched for millions of reasons. This is why the march was fundamentally important; it was an expression of resistance to certain values expressed by our new government.

Not only was it resistance, but it followed all laws, was well organized, worked with the Denver police and respected all other ideas and identities. Furthermore, the march was peaceful–I can attest to that. I understand that was not the case in other marches around the country, but those were isolated incidents, and were not supported by the mass amount of participants and organizers.

In the aftermath of the march, there were several criticisms. I saw many connections to Hillary Clinton, proposing why women at the march are hypocrites for supporting Clinton. Guess what? Not all of us voted for Clinton. I’d agree that Clinton had serious problems as a presidential candidate, but she was not the candidate of choice for millions of Democrat voters. I’m irritated to continue having to be connected to someone I didn’t support, all because I am a woman protesting against this regime I disagree with. Clearly I must have voted for the female candidate.

What’s even more frustrating is that people have the audacity to tell those who marched what they’re doing is unimportant, a waste of time or whatever judgement they have on the march. Who are you to tell other people who may have experienced vastly different things and privileges than you and have, or haven’t at all, that what they feel is unjust is wrong? That is the absolute definition of ignorance.

This is how society moves forward; by public engagement and demanding better from their government. There are very few other constructive methods to do so. What better way to get the government’s attention than to organize mass amounts of people who are screaming one message, “we disagree, and we will defend our rights and dignity.” Just look at history.

These statements, these actions, are not actions of “snowflakes.” In fact, I think it’s a hell of a lot braver than criticizing behind a computer screen and waiting for something terrible to happen before action is taken, as so many of us do nowadays.

For such activists of our freedoms a good portion of the conservative community has been telling “libtards” to sit down, shut up and deal with the presidency. These marches and this entire movement are not entitled to do so, and will continue to fight. I think often about how lucky I am to live in a country where I can so freely express my beliefs, my thoughts and ideas no matter what they are. I will exercise those rights as long as I have them.