Before the Women’s March was created, I had planned to go to D.C. for the inauguration services. Regardless of who won the presidency, I was slated to get to D.C. that Thursday and come home Sunday. Despite the fact I was pretty upset with the presidency, I still planned to go because it is history. The last time a candidate won the presidency but not the popular vote was George W. Bush in 2000, garnering one more electoral vote than Al Gore. Granted, the popular vote was much less divided than Clinton and Trump, but the fact that these events occurred within twenty years of each other is placing many faults in our electoral college system.
I’m going to spare you the debate on whether the electoral college is good or not: take a political science course and you’ll realize there are no easy answers. But I was interested to see what Trump’s inauguration would look like when the majority vote was pretty starkly won by Clinton. The pictures do not lie; honestly, on a regular sunny day at the National Mall, there could have easily been the same amount of tourists there. And the rhetoric that all of Trump’s supporters were “working” because they have “jobs” as opposed to liberals is flawed, but most of Trump’s supporters do come from places where accessibility to travel is limited. Most of the East Coast didn’t vote for Trump, whereas they could have easily shown for Obama in 2009 without breaking the bank. So I understand why Trump’s inauguration was not the fleshy turnout they expected; the silent majority had their reasons.
The following day, I woke up around 8:30 a.m. and went down to cement my place in front of the stage. Getting there, I was about four blocks away from the stage. Large screens projecting the speakers and performers were erected in the middle of Jefferson Drive and everything was set into deep contrast against the white-gray D.C. fog. I had never seen this many people in my life. I had been in a packed 82,500 seat arena when I saw Coldplay, and in the midst of a gigantic tailgate at the Harvard-Yale game, but never in my life have I seen 500,000+ other people all in one concentrated place. The sheer number of people was so powerful that it made the voices of Angela Davis, the Five Mothers, Janet Mock, Scarlett Johansson, Alicia Keys, Gloria Steinem, Cecile Richards, and every other woman speaking that much more intense. That much more empowering. I couldn’t believe that so many other human beings cared about the same things that me and my closest friends have been fighting and are willing to fight for.
A lot of people had ideas about what the march was supposed to be, and to put it simply, it was about intersectional feminism. Intersectional feminism, as Kamala Harris indirectly pointed out, is about looking at each global issue and how it affects women of all backgrounds and abilities. Because yes, each global issue is also a men’s problem, and it is also a people problem. But as women we need to be aware of how each issue is directly affecting us. As a white woman, I want to encourage every other white woman to start caring about other women. In this country, we are stunted because of stigmas and unequal pay and gendered criticism, but these issues affect minority women and disabled women in a completely different way than they do to us. It is so much harder for them. And this march was important in reminding all women that there is a struggle, but the struggle is complex and different for everyone. And we need to fight for everyone.