Gender and Sexuality Column

Thompson: The Women’s March on Washington was a ‘symbolic middle finger’ to the Trump administration

Leigh Ann Rodgers | Staff Photographer

Participants in the Women's March on Washington boasted many creative signs, from this play on Beyoncé's hit song "Formation" to "the future is STILL female” and “women are the wall and Trump will pay."

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and one woman scorned surely doesn’t hold a candle to half-a-million women coming together in peaceful solidarity to protest an establishment that has built its name on degrading and defiling women’s rights.

Just more than 100 years ago, women were protesting against second-class citizenry and demanding the right to vote, the first stepping stone toward the ability to live a life of independence, freed from the confines of living under the restrictive scrutiny of men. And here we are, more than 240 years after our country’s founding, protesting and demanding for inclusion in the promises made to “We the People.”

There was something spellbinding and otherworldly that took place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. The air was electric, buzzing with not only the cries of anger and advocacy for change, but an emotion that many women had lost sight of since Nov. 8: hope.

The march was a cathartic moment that many never even knew they had been needing. It was a place to cry. To sing. To scream out the names of the women whose lives had been sacrificed in our winding journey toward justice. To heal the wounds that had pierced our souls for so long. In the words of Carmen Perez, one of the march’s national co-chairs: “We are not hopeless. We are the ones we’ve been hoping for.”

Despite what many may claim, the Women’s March on Washington was not about President Donald Trump. It was about finding a voice in a culture that has silenced women for too long. It was a platform where women could be sexual without objectification, vulnerable without manipulation and angry without belittlement. The march was about reclaiming genders and sexualities that have been reduced and disparaged as nothing more than mere talking points for those in power.

Boasting signs that read “the future is STILL female” to “women are the wall and Trump will pay,” the march was a symbolic middle finger to the government establishment as a reminder that we will be vigilantly watching and holding our politicians accountable to both their electorate and their promises.

Nothing in my life has reverberated to my core quite like the emotions I felt walking the grounds of our nation’s capital with half a million women at my side. That route has seen our sisters in solidarity marching for the right to vote more than a century ago. It made witness to Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington, when a black man stood before 200,000 protesters and the rest of the world to profess his dream for a future devoid of segregation. It hosted nearly 100,000 young men and women who begged their government to end the war in Vietnam, joined by the ghosts of those who had been sacrificed in a war without their own consent.

It was a site marking hallowed ground.

And while the glass ceiling may still firmly be in place, even the strongest glass begins to crack under the pressure of 500,000 women and a dream.

Kelsey Thompson is a sophomore magazine journalism major. Her column appears weekly. She can be reached at katho101@syr.edu.

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