After a few people asked why I was going to participate in the Women’s March on Charlotte, and why was it called a "March for Women" as opposed to a "March for All", I decided that I needed to respond. So I have taken portions of emails I wrote in response to those questions and turned them into this blog post. I am very well aware that everyone that marched will answer the question differently. I can only tell my story. -Amy
I just read that the first Women’s March in DC was in 1913 with women demanding the right to vote. It was held the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. It would be seven more years before women could vote. So marches and protests and women’s marches are nothing new and they are part of the very fabric that makes America great already.
One hundred years later, I am fortunate to live in a bubble of acceptance and inclusion and welcome. It has not always been that way, but it has been so long since I have experienced explicit sexism in my job that I almost can’t remember what it feels like. I am one lucky woman.
But I do experience it from time to time. When a visitor leaves worship because I’m preaching, for example(yes it happens), or when someone doesn’t want me to participate in something because I am a woman minister (yes it happens), or when I know I am being treated less than a male counterpart. Those occasions pick a scab pretty quickly.
So let me stress this point – I almost can’t remember — and yet I do. But hear me say again, I am so lucky because I serve a church that is decidedly socially liberal. Do you know how many women would do just about anything to have my life? So I don’t march for me as much as I march for all the women less fortunate than I, because they have not landed in such rich places of inclusion and acceptance and welcome and affirmation. They have not been told they are valued, and instead many have been overlooked and abused and mistreated and ignored and underpaid and silenced.
It could just as easily be me. So I march.
Some of the things that have been said to women, and about women, in last year’s campaign cycle have been painful to hear. And I believe the Church is called to talk about painful things. Not all women see this the same way, but trust me, enough of us do that we need to talk about this from a theological perspective — the church needs to be talking about how God views women.
The bottom line for me concerning this phenomenon of Women’s Marches all over our country - indeed all over the world - is that it’s not so much about Trump as it is about the fact that, even if Hilary had won, we still needed to talk about women’s issues from a theological angle. We almost had the first woman as President of the United States. Whether you liked her or not, voted for her or not, the fact that a woman was that close bears talking about.
Instead we got a man whose pattern of blatant vulgarity about women is, to put it simply, disgusting. This isn’t just a case of potty-mouth — it is demeaning, demoralizing, and destructive. That too needs to be discussed. And though marching does not resonate with lots of folks, sometimes when people don’t know what else to do, they join in solidarity, and they march.
About this particular topic I think it is important to say it was a Women’s March and not just a march (though there were lots of men there too, including my husband). But while this was not an anti-Trump rally, there is no denying that his way and his words about women have surely prompted this march in a way that it would not have if Rubio or Kasich or Bush or Cruz had won.
It took me a very long time to learn to live into my femininity in this job. When I first graduated from seminary I bought blazers and suits only. I used to keep a white collared blouse in my office to wear under my robe because all I had ever seen was men’s shirts under a robe and when I put mine on with a dress it didn’t look right.
It makes me sad to remember those days.
When I was pregnant and stood in the pulpit there were people that were uncomfortable because my overwhelming belly was showing. I’ve had people comment to me — at our church – about my breast size. Can you believe that? I’m not making it up. There is no way for some people to understand how that feels.
But you don’t have to understand it to hear it and accept it. Not all women agree either. As a matter of fact, over all my years in ministry, I have found more opposition from women than from men. I don’t understand that either but it’s true. Still, there are countless women who have felt belittled or betrayed or objectified or harassed. And they are tired. And the Hillary/Trump era has brought it to a head, and so they march.
And I march with them.
My article in the newsletter a couple of weeks ago inviting people to march with me struck a chord. Within 10 minutes of the newsletter going out, I had three emails – thanking me. In the days that followed, many more. And then 40+ people from our church joined the 25,000 that marched in Charlotte. I am so glad to be their pastor and march with them.
Does this help you at all see where I’m coming from — whether we agree or not? We don’t have to agree for my story to be acknowledged. And that’s really all anyone ever wants – to be heard. And accepted. And affirmed. And loved. And I am. And for that I am immensely grateful.
I want that for all women. And so I marched. And I’ll keep marching . . .