Fool-Proof Responses to Women's March Backlash
We're a week out from the historic Women's March on...well, just about everywhere...where upwards of 3 million women, men and children of all races, religions and sexual orientations showed up to represent dissent with the new administration (et cetera).
Whether you marched or not, I'm sure you've seen the backlash; it's coming from all directions: from angry white men - of course - but also from angry white women and even from minority women. You've been on the receiving end of the questions, the ridicule, the smirks and jokes, the eye-rolls, the exasperation and the vitriol especially from those who don't seem to recall (or choose not to) that this country - and the rights they take for granted now - was founded and secured via dissension, protest and revolution.
I've gotten a few questions myself and I stumbled on my responses. It sucked. So I checked in with other women to find out some of the common questions they've been fielding and came up with "good" and "better" responses to each.
Oh, and in addition to these responses, it's also a good idea to arm yourself with your "elevator speech" - a 2 minute pitch that sums up your point of view in a nutshell - you can drop on anyone at a moment's notice.
What were you marching about?
Good response: "Because that motherfucker is not my president!"
Better response: "I marched because I am extremely worried about the future of this country. I marched to protest the policies and ideologies of the incoming administration and show my solidarity and support for groups (e.g. women, minorities, LGBT, immigrants, religious groups, refugees) that are at risk of losing fundamental human rights."
What do you have to complain about? Women/We have equal rights already!
Good response: "Assholes like you."
Better response: "Women do not have equal rights, even if it feels like we do. Women still do not earn the same pay for working the same jobs as men. Women don't have equal rights when men still decide what we can do with our bodies. The rights we do have are threatened every day by this administration. Rights that were secured long ago - by women who marched and protested - are now at risk. Our newly inaugurated president is himself accused of sexually assaulting women. In some cases he bragged about it.
"But let's be clear, yes, it is known as the 'Women's March' but that's because it was started by women. Women are standing together to take a stand against ALL of the policies, values and of this new administration. We have a loud voice and we intend to use it to make change. Women's issues are just a drop in the bucket."
Marching is pointless. What are you really gonna do about it?
Good response: "I'm going to punch you in the mouth."
Better response: "The March was just the beginning, it was symbolic and it was motivating. Going forward, I am going to educate myself and the people around me on how to make an impact locally; I am going to volunteer for the causes I care about; and I am going to get involved in local and state government to make sure a DJT never happens again. And yes, I am going to march - when collective action is needed, I will show up and add my face and my voice."
The election is over, Donald Trump was elected, why are you being a cry-baby? You should just get over it.
Good response: "Get over it like you fuckers did with Obama for 8 years?"
Better response: "One of the great things about living in a democratic country is the right to express your opinion - or your disapproval with - the government and its policies. I accept that DJT is the president, but I reject everything he stands for. He doesn't represent me. His ideological and moral views are the opposite of mine and of many Americans. I feel that this president is so dangerous it is my responsibility as a citizen of this country to make my objections known and to do everything I can to counteract the damage he will do.
"Plus, DJT did not win the popular vote. I'm actually acting on behalf of the majority."
Why do you hate Trump voters?
Good response: "Because you don't care about anyone but yourself."
Better response: "I don't hate anyone. I do think it was hugely irresponsible casting a vote for DJT and what he represents. He displays poor judgement; shows disrespect and disdain for women and minorities; and is not educated on the issues that are important to any of us. He is not qualified to hold our highest office and he puts our national safety at risk. So I am disappointed that so many of you put your faith in him.
"But it's OK to admit you made a mistake. We are inclusive. We will take you in on our side to add to our collective voice."
Where have you been up until now? I/We have been fighting/protesting/struggling for decades.
Good response: "I have been voting this way all my life too."
Better response: "You're right. I haven't been there. I have been a lifelong liberal who has voted but I have not joined in the fight to stand up for and secure rights for others. I have been apathetic and enjoying my privilege. But this is where that changes. I love this country and don't want to see it destroyed. The values that millions of us hold are in jeopardy. Our equal rights, national security, economy, educational system, livelihoods and the futures of our children are at stake. Our environment is in crisis. Those are all things I am now standing up for. We all have to work together to make the difference we need to make and I hope you will accept us into your movement.
"As Brittney Cooper of Rutgers University said to Vox.com, 'when we organize under the banner of shared womanhood, acknowledging all these moving parts makes our collective work not weaker but stronger.'"
Some of these rambled on but you get the point. This isn't just a "march," it's a message, a collective "fuck you," and a notice that we aren't taking this lying down. It started as a march and now it's a revolution.
I can't say it better than these women:
"I was not there to march for myself, I was marching for choice. ALL CHOICES that govern our bodies. I was marching for belief in science. I was marching for acceptance and open borders. I was marching for respect for all people's paths and stories. I am marching because we just put a fucking RACIST RAPIST in the White House. I was marching for people in more difficult positions than me."
"Today I had the privilege of marching with my girls and tens of thousands of others through the streets of Atlanta. I marched because of them. I marched because my girls deserve equal pay. I marched because they don’t need anyone mandating what they choose to do with their bodies. I marched because they deserve to have highly qualified and experienced cabinet members in charge of their education. I marched because LGBT rights are human rights. I marched because everyone deserves healthcare. I marched because black lives matter. I marched because climate change is real. I marched because kindness matters. I marched because I will no longer stay silent or sit idly by while others are treated unjustly. I marched because the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth and I am lucky that being American affords me that freedom. I marched because while *I* will most likely be 'fine' four years from now, there are many others who may not be, and I am with them."
"I marched because I want my new president to come to terms with the truth that he is a minority president and there are millions of Americans (and people all over the world) that fear him. We are desperate for his reassurance through action and absent that we will need to galvanize over and over again. We fear losing insurance and exclusions for pre-existing conditions. We fear a far right wing Supreme Court that doesn't represent the majority of centrist Americans. We fear that millions of low income women will lose access to mammograms, Pap smears, and birth control. We fear this nearly all white male cabinet he is assembling. We fear his apparent interest in destabilizing NATO that has kept Europe stable for 60 years. We fear corruption that he has brought to his business dealings and may bring to government. We fear the most partisan FBI director that this country has had in decades. We fear his interest in controlling our free and independent press which is essential to any democracy. We are asking him to govern all of us to a more centrist place than it seems he intends to.... We want our senators to know that we are watching what they do and we hope they maintain a government with integrity. We want to have a real answer to the role Russia played in our election. We fear his intention to remove environmental protection regulations; as you know, there is no Planet B. We wanted to come together to support others of like mind, to galvanize our political energy so that it means something. We don't want to whine; we want to DO! We are showing the world what democracy in action looks like and we are off to a great start."