I missed the march. I was at an all-day writing workshop that had already been paid for. If it weren't for that I would have been there. Definitely. With a sign. I mean, unless something else had come up. I spat out a couple of retweets in solidarity, which should count for absolutely nothing.
Tonight, I hopped on the internet, caught up with the world and realised I hadn't missed the march, I'd missed day 1 of the revolution.
Today's Women's March on Washington was the largest inauguration protest march in history, and was replicated in every single US state and over 60 countries around the world, including Antarctica and Iraq. As a certain wannabe dictator might say, this is 'big-league'. That these protests were driven by women, but were also inclusive and representative of everyone who stands to lose from the new world order (i.e literally everyone, unless you own an oil company), is a major feat of feminist organising that gives me a huge lump in my throat and a fire in my belly. Especially the photos of young kids out marching with their mum and dad, holding giant signs like 'I'M YOUR FUTURE AND I AM FIERCE'. What incredible parenting to give your children such an empowering political experience. I'm tearing up again.
But am I really surprised that it took feminism to bring us here, to the widest-reaching protest in history? Yes, in the best possible way. Trump's list of hateful attributes extends far beyond his misogyny. He is a white-supremacist. He is not only ableist, but actively attacks disabled people. He is a homophobe. And he is many things besides which were wrapped up today in goosebump-inducing terms by Ashley Judd. But the fact of him is summed up by something viscerally familiar to women: he is a grabber. He sees no problem with the violation of our bodies. In fact, he sees all bodies as landscapes to be pillaged and plundered for cash, or oil, or pussy, or just his own dumb name on a sign somewhere. And while his grabbing is literally directed at the bodies of women, it doesn't take much to see this extended into the abuse and pillage of all people, and of the black and brown bodies whose marginalisation and commodification everywhere fuels its enactment. The insidious racism of this mentality is not easy to miss. The injustice and mundanity of 'the grabber' has appalled people everywhere and evidently, made them really, really mad.
But it's also made things a little clearer. It took a really dark fucking cloud for me to realise that my feminism is more than the product of my own privilege. It's the thread to a better, more defiant and more just world. I almost forgot. The patriarchy has a great sideline in gaslighting feminists. For example: 'women need to understand that class led to Trump', 'women should have got behind a different woman than Hillary', 'women don't understand the root causes'.
For the record, I understand the root causes. So do 2.5 million people around the world who marched today.
I understand them because I am finally, I think, paying attention.