We marched, and it’s happening anyway

Six months and nine days ago, millions of us put our crocheted pussy hats on and marched. On that day, we knew that things were going to suck for women, and that we needed to find ways big and small, to stick together.

We didn’t know how much it would suck. We couldn’t have known.

We knew about pussy grabbing and bleeding from wherever. We expected cuts to reproductive services, and expected a surge in mansplaining and interrupting at work.

Six months and nine days in, we have more pussy grabbing and more bleeding from wherever. Just this week, female journalists bore the brunt: One was called forward for a full-frontal visual inspection, and told she has a nice smile and dismissed to return to the other journalists in the room. Another was characterized as “bleeding from the face” and “low IQ.”

Add to the list: Destroying women’s health, children’s health, women’s education initiatives, laws protecting women from violence….

Take that in for a minute. And then tell me that we aren’t headed toward the American Taliban. Or The Handmaid’s Tale.

All of the progress made since — well, pretty much since FDR — is turning to cinder and ash while we desperately tweet, resistbot and protest. Almost 80 years of steady progress. It’s happening anyway.

Women under 50 don’t remember how it was when their mothers and grandmothers were young. They’re about to find out.

I dare you to tell me I’m being dramatic when I say Old White Men control what happens in my uterus, and when it doesn’t push babies out anymore, those same Old White Men declare me invisible.

I dare you to tell me that it’ll be easier for girls to get the education they deserve when 45 years of Title IX protections are being dismantled right now.

I dare you to tell me that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is going to suddenly support the Violence Against Women Act, now that he’s in charge of enforcing it.

I dare you to tell me that a presidential cabinet made up of almost all white men is going to work in favor of women’s issues or race and gender equality.

I dare you.

Six months and nine days in, I’m feeling it at work. I get talked over more in meetings. I’ve cultivated the art of raising my voice exactly the way they do. I’m going to keep talking because I’m not done making my point. One male client consistently goes around me to deal with my male partner. It was recently suggested that I should try being less direct. Soften up. Be more “relationship focused.”

Stop. Close your eyes. Now, imagine giving a male colleague that sort of professional direction. Can you see it? Yeah. Me neither.

They don’t want us there, working alongside them. They may give lip service to treating women like the professionals we are. But every time I’m interrupted, talked over, told to demur, to not be too serious, I’m reminded that I’m right.

Six months and nine days in, we’re horrified. We’re raising our voices. We’re #resisting. And it’s happening anyway.

He’s signing it all away, while the other Old White Guys stand behind him, grinning broadly. They’re gleefully taking all of this away from women, and at the same time, they really believe that they aren’t minimizing our place in this world.

They don’t think they’re sexist.

They really, really don’t. But they really, really are. Fuck. How do you get someone who believes they’re not sexist…how do you get them to acknowledge and understand it? I don’t know how to do this. Do you?

© 2017 Susan Sheffloe Speer