An Olive Branch For My Excluded Sisters
I broke my new year's resolution, of limited Facebooking from my phone, Saturday the 21st in the most epic way. I couldn't get enough. Each time I manually opened Chrome and typed in my password at www.facebook.com I got to bear witness to one of the most moving demonstrations I have seen as a woman. Each time, covered in goosebumps, in awe and filled with an inspiration that connected me to women worldwide (WORLDWIDE!) I felt alive and heard. It felt as though to me that we, even those of those of us unable to physically participate, stood together. That while our backgrounds, beliefs, and circumstances might be different, we were supporting each other.
Slowly, however, as the day continued it became more apparent that we weren't standing together and yet again based on a difference of views found ourselves divided. That, in fact, there were a lot of women who felt not represented and also excluded. I was filled with sadness to think that women that I loved and respected didn't feel the same connection of sisterhood that I felt with such strength all day. My background is a conservative one, raised Southern Baptist and married into a traditional Catholic family I understand why many women did not feel represented. It's also my understanding that the organizations heading the Women's March asked pro-life groups not to participate in the way of sponsorship.
I want to say I'm sorry to the women who didn't feel represented, and who felt left out. Indeed, I can't speak for all women or the groups who organized the Women's March, but I respect you. And, while our beliefs might be different, I stand for you - as do the women who marched Saturday, and the ones who blazed the trail before us. Feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. Regardless of our politics, whether we support, or abhor our new leader, the facts are as follows. Our current President openly, and boldly, objectified women on a public platform throughout the presidential election. It's 2016 and women in our country consistently make about 80 cents to the dollar of our male counterparts - despite the fact that we make up more than half our nation's population and workforce.
On an even sadder note, programs protecting women are being defunded first. For example, Planned Parenthood, which offers cancer (breast, ovarian, cervical, etc.) screening and prevention, to the tune of 935,573 procedures annually (vs. 327,653 for abortion procedures). Or the recent plan to cut grants helping victims of domestic violence, which claims the lives of 400,000 of our sisters each year. So while, yes we have the right to vote, and to work outside the home, these recent decisions within our government are heavy blows to hard-fought progress made toward true equality in between the sexes. Unfortunately, deeply sensitive topics like reproductive rights tend to overshadow, the actual nature of feminism - and in the case of the Women's March caused a dived between us.
I am here today to extend an olive branch to you, my sister. To tell you I am sorry you were excluded, and you feel as though your fellow sisters do not stand for you. Know, however, that I stand for you - that we stand for you. My pro-life, pro-choice, LBGTQ, and childless by choice sisters. My stay at home, work outside the home, bottle feeding, breastfeeding, crunchy, and bad mommy mothers - let us be inclusive and compassionately lift each other up in a way that helps make the word feminism a thing of the past. United we stand, together we fall -Aesop