I am a feminist through and through. I have two older brothers, and I never really saw myself as any different from them while growing up. Sure, I was shorter and had longer hair, but I still liked Mario and Pokémon, and I knew I could beat them in any sort of physical fight—although they claim they went easy on me.
It wasn’t until I was much older and removed from the comfort of my own home that I realized that I was treated differently than my brothers. People were always calling me “sweetie” or “honey,” but simply referred to them as “young men” or just their names. They were told to have fun when they went out with friends, I was told to be careful. I began to realize that even if I saw myself as equal to my brothers, even if they saw me as equal to them; the world did not see us as equals. Old school sexism may not remain implanted in my home, but it certainly does in society.
I know that my life, where I am treated the same as my brothers, is a privilege. I know that being afforded an education is a rarity for most women around the world. I know that being able to hold many of the same rights as men is a blessing. I recognize that compared to many women around the world, I am very, very free. I know this. But, that does not mean I cannot speak up against the inequalities that I do face.
So, I march.
I march for those women who cannot. I march because I still do not have autonomy over my own body. I march because as a Hispanic woman, I will not make as much as my white male counterparts, even if we are working the same job. I march because it is my duty as a United States citizen to do so.
I am an empowered woman. I empower other women. I empower other men. It may be labeled “the Women’s March,” but it is not just for women, it is for everyone. Empowering women means allowing men to be who they really are. Empowering women means a better world for everyone. So honestly, why wouldn’t you march?
Put aside party lines, backgrounds, religion and race; the world needs more kindness. The Women’s March put a little bit of hope into what may seem like a dark world. Older women telling me that I am the future inspires me. People with signs that said “Free Hugs” and “Spread Peanut Butter, Not Hate;” that is inspiring. Don’t get me wrong, there were some blatantly anti-Trump posters and posters that some may view as vulgar. Still, the overall message was one of empowerment—ending the bigotry, sexism and hatred of this administration is empowering. Being able to fight for my rights is empowering.
The march in Washington, D.C. was incredibly symbolic. We began in Freedom Plaza listening to songs like “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and “Who Run The World?” by Beyoncé. The march started, and we walked past Trump tower and towards the capitol, then back to Freedom Plaza to listen to speakers. Being in the city that symbolizes our democracy, practicing one of my fundamental freedoms, was inspiring. Fighting for a woman’s right to a safe, legal and accessible abortion the day after the March for Life shows what really makes America great.
America isn’t perfect: but nothing is perfect. If we do not do our jobs as citizens of this country, we cannot expect change. Maybe you think there is no point in marching. Maybe you think that it won’t have any impact on laws in Congress or societal views as a whole. But I cannot sit idly by and be complicit in my dehumanization while some middle-aged Congressman makes decisions about my body for me. I cannot be upset about things and continue to do nothing about them. I will no longer accept the things I cannot change, I will change the things I cannot accept.