Last week, I read a blog post called “Dear Daughter: Here’s why I didn’t march for you“. If you saw my Facebook post in reaction to it, then you’ll know I was immediately infuriated by such post. So, as a writer, what do I decide to do? Write a reaction to the post, of course.
I could say a lot of things about this post. I could go on and on about how infuriating it was to read all of the ways this women believes there is gender equality. I could discuss how my fury heightened when this author explained why she believes women are paid less than men. However, I won’t – because that is what my Facebook post was for. You see, for me this isn’t about politics, it’s about equality. It’s about equality for all women – for all people – to have the freedom to choose what they want to do, who they want to be and what they want to believe in, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, political party, socioeconomic status, etc.
So, instead of getting angry, I wrote a letter. Much like the author from the blog post did, I wrote a letter to my future daughter, but this time, explaining why I did march for her.
Dear (future) daughter,
At this moment, it’s hard for me to imagine who you are. I don’t know what your name is, what you look like, or who you are. In fact, I’m just a 22-year-old who, when thinks of becoming a parent one day, struggles to imagine what that would even be like (and wonders how I will even manage to survive the pains of child birth). However, whoever you are or whoever you become, there are a few things that I want you to know.
Women are not equal. They say we are. They say we can do anything that a man can. They say that if we work hard, dream big and never quit, we’ll reach the same levels that any man can. But they aren’t right. Yes, women can vote. Yes, women can obtain a post-secondary education, secure a corporate-level job at a Fortune 500 company and even become the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. Women can even run for president – in fact, one did just a few months ago. But what they are missing is that women aren’t equal to men.
You see, a woman only makes 80 cents on every dollar that a man makes. Only 4% of CEOS are female in the United States. We live in a world where, if a woman is raped, she is asked how much she had to drink that night, or how short her skirt is. But when a man rapes and is charged with the crime, his sentence is shortened because he has a “bright future” ahead of him (begging the question; did the woman he raped not have a future ahead of her?). We live in a world where more people would prefer voting for a male sex predator than a woman.
Yes, we live in a world where women can “do anything we want” – unless it includes our bodies, of course. When we get angry, we are asked if we are on our periods, as if our feelings are not valid enough. When we look “nice”, we are asked if we did it for a man, as if we could never look this way for ourselves. When we choose to have children, we are told our “time off” (as if it is some vacation) may not be covered by our company, leaving us without pay and financial means to take care of our families.
Yet, being a woman is a privilege. I’ll teach you one day that not every person has that privilege. You may someday ask me why the girl in your class used to be a boy, and now wears dresses. I’ll teach you that every person is different, and that we can’t judge them for not being the same as us. You may ask why some people have two moms or two dads, but that you have one of each. I’ll tell you about that, too. I’ll teach you that being a woman is great because not everyone has the freedoms that you and I do.
I’ll teach you about all of the great women in history who have moved mountains and made great strides in equality. Of course, I’ll tell you about the Women’s March of 2017, the one where I was just a 22-year-old without a clue of what direction I was going to take my life in, but the time when I watched with amazement as millions of women around the world stood up for what is right. By the time you read this, I can only hope that the world is different. Maybe you’ll even ask what the word “feminist” is , and when I tell you, you’ll say: but isn’t everyone a feminist, Mom?
You see, I was apart of the Women’s March movement, not because I, myself, face immense amounts of discrimination, inequality or disdain on a daily basis, but because other women do. I have insurance and can afford to see my doctors on a regular basis, so I may not be as heavily impacted if Planned Parenthood were to be defunded, but I can tell you that thousands of other women would be. I am a minority in that I am a woman, but not in my sexual orientation, race or religion. In those, I am about as “privileged” as they come, but not all women are. You see, society tells us that if we dress racy, we are “sluts”, but when Muslim women practice modesty, they are told they are terrorists. The bottom line is that some women may feel equal, but not all women are.
What I’m trying to say is that when I marched, I didn’t do it for myself, rather, I did it for all women. For future women. For past women. I marched for those who marched in 1920 for women’s voting rights. I marched for those women who marched in 1973 for the right to choose. I marched for the women who may march 20 years from now for reasons we don’t know yet. I marched not because I feel women have no rights, but because we don’t have full rights. I marched because I want all people of all different backgrounds to be equal.
More importantly, I marched for you. I marched for my future daughter(s), so that one day, you don’t have to.