The Problematic Politics of the Women’s March

In Opinion by Melody Gulliver

This past Saturday, January 20th, thousands of people and hundreds of cities participated in the 2018 Women’s March to rally against the Trump administration and its divisive politics. Feelings of resistance and solidarity were fortified through multitudes of signs, chants, organized treading, and riveting speeches.

For many, the march instilled feelings of hope and progress. But for others, the march preserved the same divisiveness it sought to dismantle.

Writer, S.T Holloway articulates this problematic incongruity in her Huffington Post op-ed, “Why This Black Girl Will Not Be Returning To The Women’s March.” In the article, Holloway recounts her discomfort with the lack of intersectionality at the 2017 Women’s March. She writes, “the reason I’m not going is because after having attended the march last year, I am well aware that the Women’s March is not for women like me.”

According to the Women’s March, its mission is to “harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change… [and to dismantle] systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures.”

Despite the Women’s March intent, its execution fails to provide adequate spaces and platforms for persons of color. The event speaks scarcely and vaguely about the complex experiences and biases endured by persons of color. It is dominated by heteronormative white women who at best, are not aware their pussy-power and “future is female” rhetoric is exclusionary. There is little strive to keep women of color in the conversation, and even less desire to have Black and Brown women lead the discussion.

So, who is the Women’s March for?

If it’s not for women of color, like Holloway, whose lives the current administration is so intent on displacing, diminishing, and deteriorating, then who?

If it’s not for Black transgender women like Mesha Caldwell who have been terrorized and brutally murdered without hope of political justice, then who?

If it’s not for women like Sandra Bland who have suffered unforgivable acts of police brutality, then who?

If it’s not for women like Recy Taylor who have fought bravely to have their stories of sexual abuse heard and validated, then who?

The march is marketed as a rally against the politics that concretize disparities in power including gender, race, and ability—both, physical and mental. With the march’s mission and magnitude, it had the potential to be revolutionary. And in some ways, it was. But any triumph is eclipsed by the self-serving white feminism by which it operates.

We need to do better.