I did not march on Saturday in D.C. or elsewhere. After seeing all the images from women’s marches around the country, I had to ask myself, “Does not marching make me less of a woman?” I didn’t like the way that question tasted as it rolled over my tongue. After some thought, I realized there was a larger question at play: What does it take to be a badass woman in 2017?
Deciding not to march wasn’t because I’m a Trump supporter or a Hillary supporter. This is about being a woman in today’s society, and here it is: I don’t think marching in protest alone elevates you as a woman. Yep, I plan to get a lot of flak for that comment, but I encourage you to read on before passing judgement.
I know women, great women, who marched on Saturday. Amazing women that do more than believe in social good, they live it. Outstanding women who have dedicated their time to elevating the rights of others long before the election. I also know women who marched this weekend who don’t appear to contribute to their family, communities or society as a whole…until the media deemed they get a gold star for doing so. I don’t accept that.
I didn’t march, because I believe on working on me first. You know the saying, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” Horrible grammar that made me cringe to type, but it rings true. You can’t fix the whole family if a family member is broken. Apply this to our current climate. Sending a message to the new President of the United States of America sounds like a perfect climatic push in a novel, but is that really how we get the job done?
Home is where the heart is, so that’s where I’m going to start. Contributing to the greater good starts at home and in your community. I think of all the thousands who marched for women’s rights, LGBT rights, healthcare, etc… and hope their efforts didn’t end in a brisk walk. I hope those women, and the men that supported them, go on to volunteer at battered women’s shelters, serve on their community board, donate to a charity of choice, or act as a Big Sister to a youth in need of a role model. That’s where we should start (if you haven’t already).
If you are a friend, are you encouraging and elevating your fellow girlfriends? Or do you find yourself bitching about politics over a few beers? If you are a spouse, do you hold yourself with the confidence and respect you deserve, or are you subjecting yourself to less? If you are a mother, are you teaching your children morals and setting good examples on how to be a a loving and strong spouse/respectfully collaborating with their co-parent, or are you fighting and disrespecting each other if front of impressionable ears? We are all human and make careless mistakes. Let’s start there.
Bottom line, do you inspire women, young or old, around you on a regular basis? Don’t settle for showing up to the big game and expect to collect a trophy for participation. We have a big job to do, but you can’t be afraid to start small. Getting a ribbon at the end of a marathon doesn’t feel very satisfying if you only joined the race halfway through.
If you don’t know where to start, type in some key interests at VolunteerMatch.org. Now, go on with you badass self!
Image via Ken Fager.