Thursday, April 9, 2020

Why I Didn’t March in the Women’s March

Inspired by a high school classmate who encourages regular “Twitter purges,” the releasing of tweets in draft status to one’s timeline to reveal our true selves, often dissociated from the Internet avatars we feel compelled to keep up, I’ve decided to release of a series of articles that I wrote several years ago, but never pushed publish on.  My hope is to live up to the name of the blog “Otis Unfiltered” by publishing more unfiltered content.

When my mom asked if I participated in the Women’s March, I hesitantly said no.  I felt a sense of guilt for not partaking in one of the largest single-day protests in United States history, one in which many of my close friends participated, one in which hundreds of thousands of women traveled to Washington D.C. to demonstrate their civil rights.  While I struggled to articulate why at that moment, time has provided clarity.


The eagerness to plaster pussy in pink glitter felt disingenuous and more tailored to getting likes on Instagram than affecting material change in the advancement of women’s issues like access to sexual and reproductive health services and equal pay (for equal work).  I understand that protest is a fundamentally visual means of resistance in which the sheer number of people is designed to demonstrate the strength and size of the coalition.  But the cheekiness of the signs downplayed the seriousness of the call to action.  My brother asked me to consider if The March on Washington had jokes about the inhumanity black people faced on a daily basis and the effect that would have had on their demands, and I can’t help but agree.  The most resonant image from the Civil Rights Era is the flag hanging from the NAACP headquarters in New York that read “A Black Man Was Lynched Yesterday” because sometimes, confronting reality is harrowing enough to provoke change.

Inability to Make Material Change
Optics and representation matter!  But…we just had an election. I wish the groundswell of support and engagement in our civic process occurred a few months earlier when we could have affected the outcome of the election, making this demonstration of solidarity unnecessary.  Hopefully those who didn’t vote now recognize that every vote counts and that our politicians do make a material impact.


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