“We march and we are millions—and then what?”
On January 21, I joined the global Women’s March in spirit from Patagonia, Argentina. Through Twitter, I marched virtually in solidarity with the physical marches that were held all over the world.
We were all united under the same sky with the same belief that we are equal and deserve parity and respect. There was no fear in our steps. There was no violence in our actions. I witnessed strength, bravery, and thousands of voices ready to speak up.
On that day, we stood as one. But there is an old idiom that says, “God is in the details.”
I've been an activist for equality since I can remember and every victory I have celebrated has been brief and bittersweet—a small step that can always be taken back.
Six days after the march I found out that a 28-year-old woman had died in my hometown. Her husband had beaten her to death. Our society’s viciousness and deep disdain for a woman’s life remained intact. Just last year, we had marched for another woman whose husband murdered her.
The same question arose, then and now: We march and we are millions—and then what?
How can we educate for real change if we are not willing to contribute to change amongst ourselves on a daily basis?
Two years in a row, the #NiUnaMenos (Not One Woman Less) movement rose in my country in a massive shout to stop femicide and gender-based violence. Last year, the Ni Una Menos national march was held on the same day as National Cancer Day and women who wore black were criticized for sending a negative message on Cancer Day.
How lost are we in the cosmetics of it all to prey on one another like that? As women, we often cause our own setbacks. The hardest remarks, the deepest knowing silences, and the harshest views tend to come upon us from our sisters in the fight.
We find politicians’ outbursts outrageous, but we vote for them—when we vote at all.
We condemn batterers, yet we are willing to step aside if we know them or if they are part of our families. We also vote for batterers from time to time, even when accusations have been public.
We let boys know they can do anything and girls know they have to be careful because they are not boys.
We go to our social networks to pass judgment on women who don’t get married or have children. When a woman wears whatever she wants regardless of age or body figure, we call her crazy; when a woman dares to be go-getting or makes a sudden change in her life or career, we say she’s strayed.
As I write, it is nine days since the Women’s March. Three reporters on CNN’s Spanish network are preying on Ariel Winter’s wardrobe choice for the SAG Awards. I can hear a woman saying, scornfully, “It is not right for her body.”
Why do we do this? The segment is supposed to be funny and entertaining, but all I see on my screen is a young girl who works as an actress wearing a great gown. She owns it. Yet her detractors act as if they own her, her body, her choices, and her public image. The network endorses the abuse. I don’t hear any voices from the audience speaking up in opposition.
All of these things are not because of any new president. We need to hold ourselves accountable.
Change is not a guarantee. When we march, we take the first steps in our fight for equity. But we need to keep taking steps forward. We must challenge ourselves to take small actions each day and make our vision a reality.
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