Do Men Belong At The Women’s March On Washington In DC?

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Women's March on Washington Women's rights
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It’s time for guys to take a knee.

Today, I drove my wife and my ten-year-old daughter to the airport, so they can attend their first political protest together.

I’m pretty proud of them.

The moment The Women’s March on Washington was announced, I knew they were going to go. They knew they were going to go. Immediately. Flight reservations and plans to crash at a friend’s house in Maryland were made within hours.

Instagram/WomensMarch

And, while they made their plans and I sat there beaming at them, reveling in their feminist awesomeness, I have to admit that it never once occurred to me to say “Can I go too?”

I was pretty confident in my decision until an acquaintance recently asked why I wasn’t attending The March with my family. Before I could even state my case, she said, “It’s a shame. I wish more men were comfortable being allies of The March.”

Apparently, that’s how some people are reacting to men’s involvement (or lack of involvement) in The March. The Washington Post recently ran an article titled “Men are slow to show support for the Women’s March. Is it considered unmasculine?”

The reporter mentions that only a fraction of the people RSVPed for The March on Facebook are men and further notes that the hashtag #WhyIMarch is largely dominated by women’s stories.

The article also includes a quote — seemingly unrelated to The March — from Alex Mohajer, co-founder of Bros 4 Hillary, who said, “There is a sense [that] if you outwardly support a woman you are less deserving of your man stripes.”

This reaction to men’s involvement in The March mystifies me, if I’m being honest. And here’s why…

I’m a man who proudly supported a female presidential candidate. I also proudly support all of the amazing women in my life.

But this March… it’s not for ME. And that’s a very, very good thing.

Instagram/WomensMarch

As a white heterosexual man, I think my opinion has been heard enough, frankly. Political discussions don’t need to hear ANY more from my demographic for a LONG time.

If the American political landscape was a 2-hour dinner party conversation, men would be talking for 1 hour and 59 minutes… and probably a few extra seconds thrown in there.

While I understand that the March on Washington wants to be an inclusive event, I fully believe that maybe this is a time where men should just step back and let women lead the conversation. For a change. For ONCE.

They don’t need my help.

There was a recent Salon article where the author argued that The March should’ve been named “The People’s March” rather than “The Women’s March.”

This quote sums up her argument pretty well: “Let me be clear that I do not think the march should have been ‘the People’s March’ out of a fear of alienating men. I want it to be called the People’s March because feminism and fighting Trump isn’t just a woman’s thing. In 2012, among Democratic voters, women identifying as feminists outnumbered men by nearly 2 to 1. That’s unacceptable.”

I agree with almost everything she’s saying here. Fighting for women’s rights should NOT just be a “woman thing.”

However, that being said, to me, The Women’s March felt like a spontaneous reaction of women trying to assert “HEY, WE MATTER” in a constructive way following Donald Trump’s election.

It was as if, while millions of Americans recoiled in horror at the idea of a President Trump, a community of women sprang up and said “Hold my beer. We got this.”

I think they do have this. I am happy to hold their beer.

Odyssey

And this, clearly, will not be the last protest of this sort, so I don’t see this as me shirking out of my responsibility to stand up against fascism.

I see the Women’s March as a way for women to organize and assert their powerful voices towards a government that does not often listen to them. A government made up almost entirely of white heterosexual men.

Personally, I don’t think we really need any more white heterosexual men in Washington right now.

Linda Sarsour, one of the leaders of The March, told The Washington Post, “This is a movement that is led by women, but it is not just for women. It’s for all people.” However, she did qualify that, if you’re participating in The March, “You have to be okay with being led by women.”

I’m okay with being led by women, and I want this march to be successful.

But I think this is one time where my wife and daughter are better off without me. I think this is a time when women from across the nation need to gather and mourn the state of women’s rights in the United States — and the way the first-ever major-party female presidential candidate was treated. They need to commiserate and bond and support each other.

And, while I fully support men who want to participate in any of March-related protests this weekend — solidarity is a good thing — I don’t really think we’re needed.

Giphy

There will be other protests, there will be more opportunities to make our collective voices heard. Women’s rights are human rights, but humanity has let men speak for women way, way too often.

I hope my daughter comes back from this weekend with the sense that women can do anything. I hope she comes back from this weekend realizing what an absurd gender imbalance we currently have in American government.

I hope she comes back knowing that I will always support her, no matter what, but that she doesn’t need a man — even her kind old Daddy — to make her voice heard.

That’s why I’m staying home this weekend. It’s not out of apathy or concern for my masculinity.

It’s because I trust women and I know they’ve got this.

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