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What Every Intersectional Feminist Needs To Keep In Mind When Protesting

Mar. 20, 2017
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There’s no denying the election of 45 has brought about a new wave of social justice warriors, many of whom never had much reason to protest prior to November’s results. And while our intentions may be in the right place, there are many things to remember before we throw on our pussy hats and protest. The feminist spirit that has swept the nation is inspiring, but we must keep our protests, our signs, our clothing, and our demands intersectional and inclusive. 

Intersectionality plays a key role in today’s feminism. The first statistic often used during arguments for equality is that women make around 77% of what men make for the same jobs -- but that is just white women. 

The truth goes so far beyond that, as shown above, and yet this is rarely mentioned in mainstream media. 

When the Women’s Strike took place on March 8, there were many women who were unable to call out of work, fearing that missing a full day of pay would financially break them. Even some women who didn’t call out of work were financially burdened when two school districts closed due to a potential shortage of teachers. Parents affected by the school district’s decision to close had to either call out of work or pay someone to come take care of their children for the day. 

Calling out of work to protest is a privilege. 

via: LA Weekly

Back in January, I marched alongside thousands of others in Los Angeles to protest our rights and the rights of others. One major issue I saw with protest signs was the common theme of ovaries and vaginas. 

Not all women have a vagina. Not all women have ovaries. These signs can very quickly become trans-exclusionary if we are not careful. 

Of course you can protest your right to your body; I am in no way shaming you for holding a sign with ovaries on it or wearing a pussy hat. But we need to include our trans sisters in our marches. We need to include them in our signs and verbiage. Listen to what the trans community is saying

It is not their responsibility to educate you, so show some initiative and do your research. When you march, you march with them. Their voices must be heard, and it is your responsibility to make sure that is a possibility by actively participating in the LGBTQ's marches. 

via: US News

White men and women also have a responsibility to look out for POC. Black protestors have a higher likelihood of being arrested. Know the ways to avoid being arrested, and help others if they are. Be attentive when police give instructions. They will often let you know certain commands prior to arresting anyone. Listen and guide others. 

We also need to march with them. When there is a Black Lives Matter protest, get your ass out there and march with your POC brothers and sisters. Their lives were constantly at stake prior to the election, and they are even more at stake now that 45 is in office. We need to fight for them as hard as we fight for our right to birth control or equal pay. You cannot fight for just your rights as a woman; you need to fight for equal rights for all.

If you are white, I urge you to use your white privilege to help dismantle white privilege. 

via: The Feminism Project

Protesting is an incredible luxury that Americans have, and it’s one that we need to be utilizing when we can. Protests let it be known that our voices will be heard — but protesting is not the be all end all of fighting for our rights and the rights of others.

You cannot simply run off to a march and then decide your part in the movement is done. Keep your activism going by staying informed about local elections and laws and calling your representatives. 

Keep your voice active and keep sharing information on social media — but for the love of all things — fact check first. Let your friends know when they have shared fake news, and do your part in reading what the other side is posting. Be informed about what our oppressors are saying and doing, and do your best to follow the steps you can take to stop them. 

image courtesy of The Odyssey Online