Written by Beth Moffitt
The Women’s Marches that took the world by storm on Saturday have stirred up many mixed emotions from both ends of the political spectrum, and also drawing criticism from women as well. Two causes represented at the march became hot button issues for many, which included abortion and wage inequality, but many other issues represented at the rallies were left unmentioned be media sources, and those who are politically opinionated. So, in addition to the controversial issue of abortion, here are some other causes that were left unsung on multiple fronts.
Reproductive Health Outside of Abortions/Feminine Hygiene
The topic of reproductive health as a whole was surprisingly left unmentioned in conversations heavy with a political slant because of abortion. Affordable reproductive health also includes prenatal care, cancer screenings, STD testing, resources or tools for sexual education, birth control, and annual check ups to name a few. In terms of feminine hygiene, feminine products are a necessity, and often taxed while men’s sexual stimulant medication, and even hair growth formulas are not. Not only do women depend on these products or services to survive, but unless lawmakers are willing to see a drastic rise in complications, a dramatic rise in unintended pregnancies of young women or teens, and sit in blood-soaked seats in establishments or on public transit, hopefully they can sort out any priorities.
Women of Color
One group whose voices have fought to be heard in various movements for the past few years are women of color, and minorities. These lady warriors have been fighting injustices for decades, and most recently during the Black Lives Matter Movement. It is important to fight beside these strong women, and all marginalized groups as confidently as was done on Saturday. We must remember that to fight injustice, we must fight it on all fronts, and in all fronts together as one.
These women have experienced the worst in terms of many of the issues brought up at each of the marches including police brutality, and we must build them up as much as we have done for ourselves. The violence, hate, and discrimination they have faced is far is unacceptable, and a chapter that is in need of being closed for good. Their courage and strength through it all is a testament to how far we have come, but even more so, how far we have left to go. We must secure a future of equal opportunity without discrimination.
The Supreme Court very well may have ruled in favor of many in the LGBTQA community, but that did not stop cake shops, and even offices issuing marriage licenses from choosing not to comply. This ruling also did little in securing a very basic right for trans people to use the restroom, a basic human necessity. False statistics, ideologies, and sheer stubbornness have prevented these people from exercising rights guaranteed to them in the Constitution, but also in many cases, basic human rights. Many of them also have endured suicide rates that have sky-rocketed due to bullying, and have even been victims of violent acts in the name of religions that in fact preach love, and peace in their basic tenants.
We must remember that our fellow trans women will also be facing many of the same issues that women do, and we must stand beside them through this battle as well.
Last, but certainly not least to be mentioned in this list is sexual assault, and rape. Seeing the likes of Brock Turner walking free while the young woman he raped was left almost for dead was a shot that rang out to be heard around the world. Countless women and men are often left to fend for themselves by a society, and judicial system who only speak of such crimes in hushed tones. Women’s Marches around the globe inspired those who have fallen victim to get loud, to not go quietly, and to fight for the right to a fair trial, and handling of their cases.
It also should be said that our culture is often toxic with misogyny and sexualizing the human body to where it has accepted viewing people as objects, and fueling a sense of entitlement to sex. This leads to a mentality that does not consider consent, and leads to a constant stream of inappropriate comments, touching, and sexual force because it is believed that if someone dresses a certain way or shares even a glance that they are an open invitation, as both a stranger, and a friend. We must end this age of entitlement, and we must preach consent throughout childhood, and adulthood as much as one may preach their right to owning a firearm. Sexual assault, harassment, and rape are a crime, not just in the legal system, but morally and ethically as well.
There may be a lot of opportunities that this country has been given as a whole, but we must remember that not all have been guaranteed these so-called riches. Feminist or not, all of us need to stand together because if any of our sisters fall, so do we all. Recent political events may be discouraging for some, but in the inauguration speech of the new President of the United States Donald J. Trump, he did clearly state that this country now belonged to the people. Even if his vision or intentions did not reflect this at all, he has unknowingly given us an incredible opportunity. Yes, the United States of America will belong to its people, but we all will work to ensure that it will belong to all of its citizens.