This January marked the second annual Women’s March, an event where millions of protestors took to the streets with picket signs and “pussy hats.”
More than 200,000 demonstrators marched in New York City, 300,000 in Chicago and 600,000 in Los Angeles, according to The New York Times. Thousands also participated in Washington, Philadelphia, Austin and hundreds of other cities around the country, not to mention the world according to The New York Times.
These impressive numbers, in addition to those from last year’s march, illustrate the power of tenacity. The Women’s March exemplifies the magnitude of feminists around the world, regardless of gender identification, language spoken or culture practiced. Although it has received backlash from men and women alike, the Women’s March should be celebrated as a proclamation of empowerment.
A cornucopia of instances of powerful men abusing women, leading to the trailblazing “#MeToo” movement, fueled the march to occur a second year in a row. Ironically, President Donald Trump offered commentary: “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March,” Trump tweeted. “Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”
With his tweet, the president seemed to applaud the march, not realizing the anti-Trump connotations the demonstrators amplified. “According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the unemployment rate for women aged 20 and older has been falling steadily since 2012, years before Mr. Trump took office,” according to The New York Times. The Trump administration is not directly responsible for this decline, however, seem to be uninterested in promoting female equality.
Trump is not alone in his distorted views on the Women’s March. Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren criticized the march, claiming it was not empowering, but demeaning to women. These false claims are vastly far from reality.
Lahren, akin to Trump, took to Twitter to boast her beliefs. “Instead of signs, hold mirrors and take a look,” Lahren wrote in a tweet. “You’ll see the ones degrading women and promoting hate are looking right back at you. This is the example you want to set for your daughters? Sick.”
The accusations that the Women’s March demeans women and promotes hate exemplary of how Lahren and critics alike are missing the point of the march. According to Fox News, she proudly stated, “If you truly believed in female empowerment you would acknowledge that President Trump has women in some of the most important jobs in the White House and in his cabinet, including the first ever mom to be press secretary.”
Providing women with “important” jobs should not be something to brag about. It should be ordinary and implied that women can hold jobs to this degree. Lahren is boasting about a fact that should be an expectation, not a trophy to show off Trump’s presidential accomplishments. If the president actually encouraged women’s rights, he would not have to brag about the fact that he placed women in this cabinet, and is thereby doing them a favor.
Additionally, Lahren’s claims that the Women’s March ultimately degrades women is simply invalid due to the nature of the march surrounding the overall practice of feminism. Demonstrators participated for the protection of women’s reproductive rights (including the conservation of Planned Parenthood, a company offering affordable birth control and additional sexual education resources), the protest of underrepresentation in government and the acknowledgement of systematic workplace sexism. By marching for these uplifting reasons, degrading women is, in reality, the polar opposite of what marchers were doing.
Criticizers of the Women’s March, such as Lahren, and distorters of the march’s message, such as Trump, are clearly mistaken in their interpretations. The Women’s March was a symbol of democracy, feminism and resilience: qualities every American should learn to stand behind.