BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
On Saturday, I went to the Women's March in NYC, where I live. Overall, it was a truly amazing and groundbreaking experience for me, as it was one of the first real beacons of hope for me post-election and inauguration. It was inspirational to see so many people come together to fight for a cause; it's necessary if we want to create positive change, to exercise our own political power. Because, no, we don't have to take it or accept it.
That being said, of course, there were definitely problematic things about some of the language being used during the protest, largely transphobic and dismissive of people with disabilities and special needs. This, of course, was highly disappointing and upsetting to me, because we don't want use our language to isolate, or to marginalize the same people we are trying to fight for.
For instance, using language to talk about Trump's "tiny hands," however funny, defeats the purpose. There are so many reasons to dislike Trump, but using his physical appearance is a form of bullying that he himself does, and we should be better than that. It's also making assertions based on gender, which is problematic, because it plays into the same ultra-masculine rhetoric we should be stepping away from.
In addition, we need to be careful about excluding people who do not have vaginas or uteruses from feeling as if they aren't women, since not all women have uteruses and being a woman is more just because of the genitals you have. In general, gender is extremely nuanced and there are many people who don't neatly fit into the "man or woman" binary (like myself), and we need to be cognizant of that, and use our language to reflect that. I know I'm not saying anything new here, but I do think this is a necessary reminder. We need to do better. We can do better.
That being said, I am extremely proud of all of the people who protested yesterday, in their hearts, minds, and bodies. I'm proud of the cities who held rallies and marches, which is why I rounded up a few of my favorite photos on Instagram from the Marches. Because in the words of Malcolm X, "the future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
As one of the signs said, "I'm not normally a sign guy but geeez." We're about the mindful life and while that isn't partisan (we encourage articles from all perspectives as long as thoughtful) we do look for our representatives to support fighting climate change, support equal rights, healthcare affordability (it should be improved, not axed), peace on earth and education, and a healthy, fair economy. <3 See my 10 favorite #womensmarch signs plus a video from today by my best buddy @duzer up on top row of elephantjournal.com under: "If you missed the Women's March..." It also includes attendance totals in various cities and towns for what's looking to be, by far, the biggest protest in history 🇺🇸🙏🐘♥💔♻ #blackmirror
And a hello from your editors!
Thank you to everyone who marched, in person or spirit. Let's keep this going.
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (2016, ELJ Publications) & Xenos (2016, Agape Editions). They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is also the founder of Yes, Poetry, as well as the managing editor for Civil Coping Mechanisms and Luna Luna Magazine. Some of their writing has appeared in Prelude, BUST, The Atlas Review, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. Joanna also leads workshops at Brooklyn Poets.