Not All Pussies Are Pink
The Women’s March was amaaazing!!!! Wasn’t it? That sea of pink pussy hats, even Black and brown women were wearing them. Even Police Officers — high five! Everything was so inspiring. The diversity. The support. The great signs. Trump means fart in England, LOL! I bet you came with your friends. Your woke husband. You got up early. You rode a bus, or caught the metro. You had your clear backpack with wipes, granola bars, water. You waited patiently as the metro kept stopping, as you and the other 500 people at L’Enfant Plaza tried to exit on the long escalators. You didn’t mind. You felt powerful, important. This was history. And there you were, making a difference. I felt it too, briefly. When a middle-aged Black woman started a call and response at the metro station. When I walked the opposite direction on Independence Avenue past a steady stream of women heading downhill. When I heard a distant “Woooo!” and heard the call reverberate towards me and away.
But I also felt awkward, uncomfortable. Like standing as near as I could get to a jumbotron to hear the speakers, trying to get out of people’s way, so I stood in a planter and arranged my Chucks so as not to crush the aloe plants. When I saw a Native couple dressed in regalia near me, and heard their exchange as they decided to move somewhere less crowded. Then I saw a white woman touch the Native woman’s arm and ask “can I get a picture with you?”, “um, we were just trying to move somewhere else”, “well, smile!”, as Becky proceeds to take their picture anyway. When I saw an older white man proudly holding his pussy posse sign, looking around, waiting for validation, waiting to be congratulated. I lowered my eyes. When I read a Facebook post from a Native friend describing white people who were barefoot, clambering all over NMAI, no regard, no respect, singing Woodie Guthrie like they owned the place.
I had been on the fence about attending the march. I only knew white women who were going. Some of my friends who identify as African American or Black decided not to attend. Shared that they would not be used by these white women and our need. Our need for comfort, for reassurance. Our need for solidarity. Our need to have our existence and experiences validated. I also hate crowds. And I had somewhere else to be that evening, at an event that was important to me in support of someone I care about.
But as I tossed all of these things around in my mind on Saturday morning I thought, fuck, stop whining and just go, Nadine. I should go and see for myself. I thought about documenting the event for my daughters, and my son. I, like everyone else, took pictures, video. But then my phone died, and I couldn’t document anything. I couldn’t take a selfie. I couldn’t meet up with my friend. So I wandered around, feeling strangely alone in this massive group of women I was supposed to feel a connection with. I ended up leaving early so I wouldn’t get stuck downtown, so I could get back in time to attend the American Indian Society’s Powwow. Where I would hear young people from Standing Rock speak about their experiences at camp. They let us know that they are fighting for all of us. They are fighting for clean water, for everyone to have a free and happy life. That they are willing to sacrifice themselves, literally putting their lives on the line, for all of us.
In the time my phone was dead, my boyfriend had texted me and asked me if I was happy. And I thought about it and the answer was no. This march was a protest. To me, a protest is not a party. It’s not a celebration. It’s not a time to release that ugly feeling you woke up with on November 9, in place of a warm fuzzy pink pussy sisterhood. Remember, not all pussies are pink. And if you really want to show up, to make a difference, then don’t revel in this. Don’t congratulate yourself — challenge yourself.
A majority of white women voted for Trump. You know them. So what are you going to do? Are you going to chide them with your hipster white friends, share Onion articles on Facebook, and bask in the glow of your wokeness? Or are you going to allow yourself to feel that grossness that the pee pee president woke in you? Ask yourself, why did you participate in the march, really? Was it to feel good? And if you feel good, then I suggest that you stop. Remember the water protectors at Standing Rock getting blasted with water cannons as you climb into your warm bed. Remember Sandra Bland when you stand up for yourself and a cop gives you a hug instead of carting you to jail. Remember the trans folks who are murdered for expressing their identity as you put on your make-up in the morning. Feeling good is a luxury that we can’t afford anymore. Follow the lead of women whose pussies ain’t pink. We have a lot of catching up to do. Put your pussy hat away and get to it.