A Letter to #notmymarch Women

I was just putting together a video from the Women’s March and since some time has passed, I decided to go back and look at some older posts for inspiration.  What I found was more negativity than I remembered.  

When I look back at the pictures and videos I took from the Women’s March in my home town, St Petersburg, I remember a day of love and solidarity.  A day when women of all backgrounds, ages, and status came together with a single goal, to reject the president’s attacks on women and stand together in peace and love.  Below I am going to address some comments from social media, most notably from the #notmymarch hashtag.  Fellow bloggers and Youtubers voiced their confusion and even their disgust with the women’s movement.  

  1. #notmymarch aren’t sure what the women are protesting, and have accused them of not knowing what they even stand for.  First of all, let me clarify, this was not a protest against policies, the man had just been in office for a day, this was a march of solidarity, to stand together and reject the misogynistic views of a man who had just been inaugurated as our president.  If you really need to be reminded of comments made by our 45th President, stick around, this post has a few       

 

2.  #notmymarch women say that it really bothers them when other people speak on their behalf and we should have referred to it as, the anti trump march.  Seriously?  You didn’t represent my belief when you voted for a man who thinks women shouldn’t poop (or at least shouldn’t let men know they poop).  

You certainly didn’t represent my belief when you voted for a man who said cohabitation is an excuse for rape or who justified sexual harassment because “he helped a few of them.”  You voted based on your beliefs, and now I’m standing up for mine.

3.  #notmymarch women are ashamed of women wearing giant vaginas or holding pussy signs.  They criticize the celebrity speeches for, “nonsensical remarks about periods”  The vulgarity did not come from these women taking back ownership of their genitals, but from “remarks” made by the man who now holds the most powerful position in the United States.  A man who has made various statements about women’s pussy and his right to it.  A man who believes it is okay to ogle a 12 year old girl or sexualize his own daughter.  A man who has insulted a woman’s intelligence due to the fact that she bleeds.  A man who has called breast feeding disgusting.  The fact that a woman’s amazing body can create and sustain life is nothing to be ashamed of however, the misdirected vulgarity claims from #notmymarch women are truly shameful.

 

4.  #notmymarch women say they already have equal rights and insult women marchers for whining about their privileged life.  Well, here are some reasons I marched that Donald Trump did not campaign about.  According to nsopw.gov, Approximately 20 million women have been raped in their lifetime.  Only 16% have been reported.  1 in 5 girls will be a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18.  Only 30% of those cases are reported to authorities.  1 in 6 adolescent runaways fall victim to sex trafficking. In spite of these alarming facts and statistics, Trump has elected people into his cabinet that have said that they will not uphold the laws and programs that protect these victims. For example: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/17/betsy-devos-hearing-prompts-fears-for-campus-sexual-assault-protections

White women continue to make $0.70 for every dollar a man makes and minority women make far less. Women marches stood up to say that we will not move backward in regard to wages and their remarks came in response to Trump’s brutal attacks on his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton.  He has called women “gold diggers” and only seems to support their “job” as beauty queens. He attacks women for not having the right “look” – too fat, too ugly, too non presidential.  

 

5. #notmymarch women said they already feel valued because they earned respect.  I’m not sure if they are insinuating that the millions of women who marched aren’t respected, but I’m going to assume it wasn’t an attack.  Instead, I’m going to talk about how Donald Trump values women.  To Trump, women have value when they strut across the stage wearing nothing but a tiny bathing suit and 6” heels.  They have value when they offer up sexual favors or don’t decline a sexual advance.  Donald Trump’s value of women is numerical and often written on a cue card.  It’s often compared to other women in an outwardly sense.  Her inner intelligence is criticized while her outer appearance is judged.  I will NEVER accept, or allow my daughters to be valued under Trump’s model for women.  I will teach them to reject his comments as normal and stand up for themselves when they are not being respected.  If our president’s comments make you feel proud to be a woman, continue your living room rants.

(1)(2)When Trump purchased Miss USA in 1997, he said he was going to, “get the bathing suits smaller and the heels higher.”  He added of the women, “if you’re looking for a rocket scientist don’t tune in, but if you’re looking for a really beautiful woman, you should watch.  In 2009, beauty queen Carrie Prejean revealed “The Trump Rule” referring to his requirement that the women parade in front of him so he could separate the attractive and non attractive ones.   (3) In 2015 Trump said supermodel Heidi Klum was “sadly, no longer a 10.”  In response, Klum said, “every woman is a 10.”(4) . On Howard Stern, Trump assigned actresses numerical ratings based on their “f***ability.”

Now, if you, as a “strong, independent woman” support this man to properly represent the value of women in our society, you should feel no need to defend your beliefs, you’ve already given him the power to do so.  

Let me end by saying, men are not the only misogynists.  Women, such as #notmymarch are just as guilty, if not more guilty, of perpetuating the lack of respect for women in our society. Calling each other names, insulting one another’s intelligence, attacking women for their beliefs will hurt all of us.  Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced his view of women during his campaign, and in response, we marched. If you didn’t, I have faith that your one-woman march continues privately.  Progress lies in our ability to come together.  We are all one powerful female body that must protect our worth and keep moving forward in whatever way is necessary.

Now, I’m going to get back to my video, a video that shows the love and togetherness of a march that restored pride in American woman.

 

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Mom, Why Is The First Lady Naked?

After googling Melania Trump, my daughter ran to me with questions I didn’t want to answer.  Nude photos, some with her and another woman led to all kinds of questions about our values and femininity.  I’ve raised my daughter to feel like she can come to me with questions regarding sexuality but often times, I find myself stumbling to find the right words.  My flawed response and deeper thought on the issue may help other parents navigate these questions.

“How can our First Lady have pictures like that?  Didn’t they check online before they voted?”  Hmmmmm, I have to figure out a way to remind my daughter that not all public figures are role models and respond as unbiased as possible (even though I share her shock).  I want her to have female role models whose most powerful weapon is their mind, not their bodies.  “Once something is online, it can’t be unseen.  Even if it’s deleted by the user it’s most likely been shared, retweeted, etc.  I’m not sure whether she is proud of those pictures or whether she regrets them but you and I know that being famous for your mind is way better than being famous for your body.  Stick to googling your favorite role models, like J.K. Rowling.”

“Ohhhhh!  I looooove her!  That’s so embarrassing though!”  I mean people from other countries can see our First Lady naked!” “MMhmm.”  That’s all I got.

“So, is she like, a lesbian?”  

“No, she’s married to Donald Trump.”  

“Well then why is she kissing a woman in the pictures?”  

Clearly she has not been introduced to porn, thank God! My internal struggle:  Men like lesbian porn but  I can’t say men like lesbian porn to my 12 year old! She might think she needs to do things against her beliefs just to attract men.  I could say she might have been an actress and being a lesbian was her role. – START AGAIN –  “Well, maybe she acted in a movie where she was a lesbian or posed as one at a modeling shoot.  In real life, you know that being a lesbian isn’t something people do to be sexy or cool, it’s who they are and it’s about love.”

“Uh huh, but why did she need to be naked?”

“Probably because that was part of the role she was paid for.”  

Uh, isn’t that called prostitution?”

Great, now I’ve somehow made my daughter believe that our First Lady was a prostitute.  I can’t tell her that women sell themselves out all the time for the pleasure of men. A $12 billion dollar porn industry proves that, and since I have no idea what Melania’s motives were, I’ve got to lessen the impact of her naked photos by putting her celebrity into perspective.   “No, prostitution is having sex with other people for money.  I’m not sure why she chose to show her body.  Celebrities sometimes do things that aren’t acceptable in real life.”

“If a girl at my school did that nobody would care why, she’d just be called a slut.”  

There’s that word.  The word that fills young girls with fear because it comes at the cost of their reputation.  The word that elicits confusion because she’s not yet comfortable with her sexuality and can’t determine what actions make her a slut. Is it okay to like a boy at her age?  Hold hands with a boy without others assuming that she’s having sex with him?  Kiss a boy without him expecting it to go further?  So she does nothing and eventually ends up being labeled prude, or one of today’s favorite “insults”, a lesbian, making her question her sexuality even more.  Back to sending a picture, “It’s NEVER okay for a young girl, or anyone else for that matter, to post or send a naked picture of her.  That’s child pornography.  After college, if you want to become a nude model, let’s talk again.”

“WHAT?!?!  I don’t want to become a nude model!  I’m never showing my body to anyone.”  Yes!  I raised a strong, independent girl!  Wait, is she ashamed of her body?  She just got boobs and her curves are starting to fill in.  Has she been harassed or embarrassed because of these changes? I want her to have the confidence to be proud of her naked body but the values not to show it to just anyone.  “Trusting someone with your body is a HUGE deal.  You should be proud of your body but I’m glad you’re taking responsibility to protect it.  I think one day you’ll show it to your husband.”

“Ew, Mom. Gross!  And I would NEVER marry someone like Donald Trump?”  

“Why?”  

“Um, he treats women like poop and only cares about their body, and business.  He probably only married her because she posed naked.”

“Do you think that’s why men marry girls?”

“No, I think it’s why men like Donald Trump marry girls.  I’m going to marry someone who’s as smart as me… and makes me laugh… and is home at night to brush my hair…”

One of the hardest things about parenting a tween is the complex balance between preserving innocence and preparing her for reality.  It’s even more complex when reality contains social diseases that she will most likely experience but are not acceptable.  I hope that she never feels pressure to show off her body, or pressure to hide her body.  I hope she always knows that her mind is more valuable than her body, and that she never has to sacrifice her beliefs because they don’t fit into the traditional mold of a woman.  

My job as a parent is not to pass on my belief that another human being is lesser because of their choices, but to make sure that my children understand that self respect and integrity are not only values that are important to our family, but to being a woman.

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