The Women’s March on Washington Highlighted Old and New Tensions

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The Women’s March on Washington Highlighted Old and New Tensions

The number of people who took to the streets for Women’s March on Washington in D.C. and its sister marches across the country and the globe far exceeded the expectations of local and national organizers.In a sea of pink cat-eared “pussyhats” nearly 5 million people from all seven continents carried placards that read “Make America Sane Again,” “Men of Quality do not FEAR Equality,” “Viva La Vulva” and "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept” to highlight a few, showed a counter—inauguration to the nation’s newly elected president’s vision for the country and world.

What was also on display at the marches was a resurgence of feminism that was multi-generational, highlighting an amalgam of issues- abortion, equal pay, immigration rights, environmental protection, transgender rights, police brutality, to name a few- that might possibly be the beginnings of its fourth wave called “intersectional feminism, ” embraced by both women and men.

 

Unlike previous women’s marches and waves of feminism that had primarily been an intentionally exclusive women's country clubs that spoke to Betty Friedan's feminine mystique of upper-crust “pumps and pearls” wearing white women, this march was intentional in bringing various women and their voices and concerns to the organizing table.

Tamika Mallory, one of the D.C. organizers and African American, told Joy Reid of MSNBC the morning of the D.C march that by devising an intersectional policy platform centering the voices of women of color “you set the agenda or you become an agenda item. ”However, with women of color voices and concerns as an organizing principle which asked white women “to listen more and talk less” and check their white privilege at the proverbial door at the marches there was neither a consensus nor solidarity among the white sisterhood majority with that objective. “Can’t we rise above the sniping about ‘privilege,’ ‘white feminism,’ ‘intersectionality,’ and hierarchies of grievance in the face of Trump and the dangers he poses to the American and international liberal world order and women everywhere?” Emma-Kate Symons wrote in her op-ed piece “Agenda for Women’s March has been hijacked by organizers bent on highlighting women’s differences” for Women in the World in Association with The New York Times.

Fearing that once again a white sisterhood would exploited not only our suffering to legitimate their cause but also our black and brown faces for photo-op moments where we are seen