Funny enough, I got asked why I march by both Le BonBon and The Guardian this past weekend (in French and English, respectively). I’ve had a lot of feelings—mostly rage, disbelief and powerlessness—since November 8. I still can’t fully express what it is about this election that has sliced my heart into ribbons. So I give sound bytes to other people.
There’s a construct of who I am, one I’m pretty pleased with. It’s seamless and shiny and it’s an accurate enough representation of who I am right now: woman, mother, wife, writer, blogger, retired rockstar, New Yorker-Parisienne, immigrant-expat, grad school dropout, looks-great-for-her-age, doesn’t-take-shit-from-anyone, generally good person. Might as well toss in coastal elite. This current iteration, much as I want to believe is Kevlar, rests on all the other layers of me. And those layers aren’t buried nearly as deep as I’d like. Those layers aren’t so smooth and solid.
When Pussygrabber Galore defied all logic and decency to win against someone supremely more qualified and not the avatar of evil—but damnably, penis-less—the older parts of me rose up. Ideas I had about equality and safety, opportunity and power were upended. The fallacy that I might actually matter, as an immigrant woman of color past her pulchritude, was plainly burst. “Access Denied. Who do you think you are?”
This might be the last gasp of white men, but those fuckers worked hard to slap us down, didn’t they? They cheated, they lied, they did whatever disgusting, immoral and deplorable thing they had to—and it worked. The bad guys won. The racist shits from my childhood came out on top. How’s that for messing up a Hollywood ending? If I wanted misery and anguish, I’d have watched a French film.
I’ve been bullied, sexually assaulted by strangers and acquaintances, paid less than white men (and women) for the same job, treated like a piece of ass, treated like I’m not American, talked over, ignored, undermined and dismissed for almost the entirety of my life. No matter how independent, smart and capable I was, no matter how hard I worked, do you know what cemented my status in this world? Marrying a white man.
In 2017, “marrying well” is still some crowning achievement for women. My marriage to someone at the higher rungs of privilege legitimizes me. Having children and a husband is an incredibly effective deterrent against lechers. I can’t be accused of being a man-hating lesbo feminist because I’ve got a man. I’m less threatening to other women because he put a ring on it. I jumped a tax bracket as soon as I signed the marriage papers. I even get a title, “Madame.”
I’m grateful for it. Despite how fucked up and misogynistic this setup is, life is a whole lot easier for me as Dman’s wife. But I do not want my daughter—who decided last year she neither wants to get married nor have babies—to grow up with options that aren’t all that different from what they were a thousand years ago. To live in a society that lulls us into thinking we’re equal until the moment we try to be.
It’s been a week since the inauguration and we are reeling from all the anticipated horror unfolding in front of us. (“Don’t take what he says literally.”) It’s hard not to be furious and fearful, but those feelings need to be channeled into real action. The Woman’s March was a huge, visible show of resistance. We were 10,000 strong here in Paris, joining millions on every continent, and Dump knows this is only the beginning.
I marched, vulva hat on, because I won’t be slapped down or shut up. I am afforded some power and privilege as a lawfully wedded wife? Well, I’m using it to burn this tired shit down while lifting up everyone I can.
Photo by Bridget Farrenkopf Habib
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