By: Savannah Smith | 01-22-2017 | News
Photo credit: Jonathan Eyler-Werve / Flickr

Women's March Draw Crowds- And Invites Confusion As Well

There is no doubt that the Women's March was a big event that drew crowds, but there are also massive confusion that attended the reporting of it.

For one, there is really no one definite, clear and unifying description for what it truly is and the motive behind it. The central focus seems to be the Women's March in Washington but there are also almost simultaneous ones that happened in major cities across the U.S. that also attracted crowds, mostly of women. But the U.S. rallies also had parallel events across big countries all over the world from U.K. across Europe to Australia and New Zealand to South Africa, among others. The Women's March in Washington was earlier projected by some organizers as a post-inauguration protest against President Trump, emanating from old campaign controversy of decades-old recording where the president was reported to have said some unfavorable remarks against women. Yet there were organizers from Los Angeles and elsewhere who refused to call their marches as protests. Some said it was an occasion for women to stand up for equality. 400 cities participated across the world, but the global agenda is for equality and change. So, it is kind of difficult to sweepingly say the rallies were in protests of the new American president or if they are patently anti-Trump.

And then there is that odd question if it's really a " march" at all, or merely a gathering or a rally. The supposedly central event in Washington failed to march to the White House as originally planned. Some organizers justified the non-march due to the huge crowds that made a march "impossible".

Then there are of course the wide disparities and variations in crowd estimates for the supposed march in Washington to other similar events in other key cities across the U.S. In Los Angeles alone, the police estimate put the crowds at 100,000 while the organizers said the number of "demonstrators" could have ballooned to 750,000. New York estimates dizzyingly vary from 200,000 to 500,000. The Washington march had estimates from 250,000 to half a million, although mainstream media are putting it at half a million mark.

There is also apparently some disagreement among the ranks of women advocates. One of the organizers, Pussyhat Project, asked women to wear pink " pussy hats" to the rallies. They have even made those hats for distribution or selling to fellow women-protesters. The choice of "pussy hats" according to its proponents was to make a strong visual statement, reclaim the word " pussy" from the President, again emanating from that decades-old recording.The choice of pink was for its very " female color" representing caring, compassion and love, qualities associated with women for which they have been criticized for being weak, but advocates insist actually speak about how strong women are. Feminists groups like the Bitchmedia disagreed with the organizers and with the choice for pussyhats to make a statement, arguing that subscribing to that is actually a form of gender essentialism, one that asserts that the "gendered characteristics of feminine are directly linked to the biological characteristics of females, specifically the presence of vagina". That binary is something that feminists have fervently fought against for a long time already, believing instead that femininity is but just a social construction or merely assigned to femaleness and that females can be feminine or masculine, of any combination of the two, as can males. They also argue that women may not necessarily be caring, compassionate and loving, but are not any less women than those we are or chose to have those attributes. For these reasons, feminists groups do not approve of the "pussyhats" statement of some women-groups.

Hillary Clinton also tried to gain political points from the event as she tweeted a thank you message for those "standing, speaking and marching" for women's values as she reiterates her losing campaign slogan "stronger together". It would be a stretch, though, to claim that the women who are standing up for women's rights are naturally against President Trump and are naturally for Clinton. It may simply mean they are for women's rights and they want their voices to be heard, and there are no indication from the new government that they won't, in fact, be heard or that their voices do not matter. President Trump has underscored time and again that he will be president of all Americans, regardless of gender or color.

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