A World Apart

A World Apart

How it feels to march for someone who doesn't know that feminism exists.

165
views

For the past two January's, I've attended the Women's March on Washington. In 2017, I hadn't wanted to go to anything more than I did that march. It was to be the day after the President's inaugural address, and as I sat there watching the speech unfold on my TV screen, I felt both utterly surprised and completely unfazed by who ended up giving that inaugural address. I called a friend, and without hesitation, we decided that we had to go to the march.

As I exited the metro station somewhere in D.C., I entered a sea of pink cat hats and fearless signs. Prior to joining the march, I thought that I was going to be greeted with a sense of empowerment and pride, but I was wrong. It was instead an overwhelming feeling of confusion that welcomed me. Nonetheless, I walked, I chanted, and I hoped. I hoped that at some moment I would suddenly understand why I was there, or what I was trying to achieve in being there.

A year passes by, and this time, it wasn't the inaugural speech I was staring at. It was a speech that I fell in love with; Oprah's Golden Globes speech. There wasn't a second in that speech that didn't make me feel inspired, not a word that made didn't make me feel empowered, and certainly not a speaker that made me fear my future. And I thought I have to go to the Women's March this year. I talked to another friend, and we decided to go and bring our own signs. Unsurprisingly enough, I wrote on my poster a quote I don't think I'll ever be able to forget; "there's a new day on the horizon."

I had high hopes for this march. I was younger last year and perhaps didn't fully understand the purpose of these marches, I thought to myself. I'd convinced myself that I became wise and mature enough to comprehend the importance of the Women's March. And so, I entered yet another crowd, hoping to be hit with the feeling that I was there for a reason. A reason that I felt deep in my heart, that drove every step I made and every chant I roared to that day. But alas, that reason never appeared.

I didn't have the slightest idea why I wasn't getting this feeling that everyone who was walking beside me seemed to have. I mean, I've always cared about equal rights and I certainly never wanted to be treated any lesser for my gender.

However, I did know one thing. I knew that I lied to my mother before I left my house that day. I knew that I told her that I was spending the day wandering the D.C. museums with a couple of friends. I knew that if I were to tell her the real reason I was going to D.C., she would tell me to sit right at home and forget about the whole thing. I also knew exactly why she would say that.

My mother never finished middle school. She grew up in a rural town in Saudi Arabia in a household of five brothers and one sister. She got an arranged marriage at 20 and found absolute comfort in spending all her time raising her children. She wouldn't have said no because she isn't a feminist, she would've said no because there isn't a single concept that would come more foreign to her. This was the one idea that didn't escape me during those marches.

It's a very odd feeling, knowing that the one person you were marching for didn't have a clue that you were marching, let alone why you were marching. My mother can't comprehend the idea that a large part of why her life unfolded the way it did is because of the deep-rooted misogyny in our society. And I know that there are so women out there just like her. They are women whose names we may never know and stories we may never hear. They go every day of their lives with the belief that life is just meant to be this way and that there's nothing they can do about it.

Perhaps this is the reason why I felt so lost during those marches. How privileged I felt knowing that I was taking part in something to ensure my rights while my mother went every day of her life with incredible patience and acceptance towards the way her life turned out. How ungrateful I felt that the rights that I already had and the kind of future that I was expected to have are both things that my mother didn't dare to dream of when she was my age.

My mother and the many women out there like her may never hear of feminism or understand it. They may never attend a march or continue their education or speak out against the males in their family. They may continue to live every day of their lives just hoping and praying that things will change one day. And to those women I say, there's a new day on the horizon.



Popular Right Now

An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
57807
views

Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

504
views

Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

Related Content

Facebook Comments