My first thoughts in response to Ellie Winters’ article were pretty standard. No, we’re not done fighting on the gender equality front. No, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a housewife. No, feminists rallies aren’t spitting on you for wanting to cook dinner for your husband and drive your kids to soccer. No, feminists aren’t fighting for your immediate incarceration because we’ve gotten whiff of the fact that you don’t want to be a CEO and established that you’re a disgrace to womankind.
Ellie, I’m also super sensitive. I got into about half an hour of "The Ring" before I screamed at my friend to turn it off. I’m a grown woman and I still like the lights on when I’m alone in the house because yes, I, like you, am scared of dark rooms too. I like makeup and I feel better about myself when I look pretty. I think dresses are perfect party go-to's and when I go shopping, the ordeal takes me hours. I like getting my nails done too. In short, I have a bunch of typically feminine characteristics...and I’m somehow still a feminist. Apparently being sensitive and wanting to have rights to my body aren’t mutually exclusive.
My next concerns about the article were finally a little more inclusive and thoughtful. Yes, perhaps you know more women in business than men. How many of those women are women of color though? How many of those women of color are being paid the same as their male counterparts? How many of those women of color are being paid the same as their white female counterparts?
I was sure someone would write that response. I was sure that someone would ask “Hey Ellie, what about black women?” or “Hey Ellie, what about trans women?” I was waiting to see such an article pop up on my feed, so when “To The Girl Who’d Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign” came out the next day, I was psyched to open it.
The article addressed my indignation as a feminist; it addressed the hypocrisies and logical fallacies of the original article. What it did not address were women of color and trans women. Perpetually invisible, perpetually a second thought.
So maybe we need a reminder of what our feminist rallies are about. And maybe it’s our fault- maybe the message of inclusivity and intersectionality is lost in the sea of pussy hats and “my vagina, my rules" signs. To be clear, the flood of women at women's marches and slut-walks aren't just fighting for female CEOs, and they're most definitely not fighting for their right to shame you for wanting a husband. They're fighting for a trans woman's right to exist; they're fighting for a black woman's right to her humanity.
Yes, we're past the point when we're fighting for suffrage and maybe that's why it seems to people like Winters that the battle is already won. But it's important to remember that when women fought for suffrage, white middle-class women lead the marches, frequently excluding women of color. We're better than that now, as the poster in Winter's cover photo states, and we can do better than just simply fight for white women.
We can turn our focus to the fact that the life expectancy for trans women is ridiculously low; to the fact that a black woman was murdered in a jail cell by the very system that then pronounced her death as a suicide; to the fact that forced sterilization is still very much a problem for women who are minorities, who are in poverty, who are HIV positive. It's time to bring these people in the light, it's time to give them a voice. We march so they are not longer invisible, no longer a second thought.