For all the positivity in the aftermath of Saturday's Women's March on London, there was always going to be some negativity. As is to be expected, there have been those who have questioned why an estimated 100,000 people took to the streets of London yesterday to protest the presidency of Donald J Trump. Of all the questions, the one that seems to keep coming up is along the lines of simply 'why bother?'
I was one of those 100,000, and here is why I marched:
1. I marched to show solidarity with the people of America who now have a president they didn't vote for, but feel threatened by. Everyone has the right to feel safe; to have access to the healthcare they need; to not be discriminated against. The Women's March on Washington organisers estimated that 3,477,000 marchers in 673 sister marches took to the streets yesterday to show their support. That's 3,477,000 people who showed their support for those who feel threatened by the Trump presidency.
2. I marched to show solidarity with women all over the world. To ask why we aren't marching in the Middle East is disingenuous at best and downright ignorant at worst. Of course the struggle of being a woman in the Middle East is incomparable to our experiences and no our western cause is not more important. By complete contrast, yesterday's march was to demonstrate there are no separate causes. Collectively, we will not be free until that luxury is extended to all of us. Just because it isn't happening to us does not mean our work is done.
3. I marched to show consequence. I don't have to and I don't want to give air time to all the horrific things the new president has done; we are all aware of what he has been and is capable of. Over three million people took to the streets to show that this isn't okay; that yes, Mr Trump, you may have won the presidency, but there is no way that you can successfully normalise the rampant sexism, racism and hatred that you so willingly own up to.
4. I marched because the best way to attack a narcissist is to laugh. Yesterday's march on London was a truly British exercise. The marchers and their placards were witty and whilst there are times when it is necessary to be serious, I'm glad yesterday's march wasn't one of them. Whilst placards and signs might seem like preaching to the choir, wit and resilience can often do a job that screaming and shouting just can't.
5. I marched in the hope that we might start going forwards again.
To the people who were there and to the people who walked the same march around the world, I am proud of you. To the organisers of the marches all over the world, thank you. I'm going to take today to relax at home, and find a place in my room for my obscenely large placard. My fight will resume tomorrow.