These last few weeks of January have been alive with pictures, videos and coverage of the Women’s March. Thousands of women protested Trump’s actions and anticipated policies, as well as reproductive rights- namely birth control and abortion. Colorful signs, colorful language and colorful costumes populated the event, and while some displays were cute, a huge number of them were incredibly explicit and outright vulgar. These vulgar displays featured vivid verbage and imagery of female genitalia to emphasize hatred for Trump’s notorious message of grabbing women and enforce the mantra of, “My Body, My Choice.” A quick Google search will yield a plethora of images from the March. But, in my opinion, combating Trump’s –and society’s- crude and sexist behavior with equal vulgarity doesn’t uplift women, but further degrades them.
I’m a woman and a definite feminist who believes that women are entirely equal to men. And yes, a woman’s body is beautiful and awesome and should be cherished and respected. Someone who reduces women to purely sexual objects through language, words and deeds is definitely in the wrong and should be reprimanded.
But combating hypersexual and disrespectful words and imagery with more hypersexual words and imagery does not uplift the dignity of women. Women aren’t showing that they’re equal to men while angrily touting pictures of vulvas and screaming offensive words. Instead, it emphasizes the notion that women are reduced down to their sexual parts. A woman’s body parts are put on display, usually sexually, instead of being cherished as sacred. We are led further and further down the rabbit hole of disrespect.
In addition, the culture behind birth control and abortion boldly proclaim that a woman’s body must be chemically altered, or sterilized or life terminated, for a woman to have full bodily agency and power in her life. These suppress the awesome functions of a woman’s body, rather than working with them. The Women’s March also prevented a pro-life group from marching with them, claiming that being pro-life is “anti-woman.” Since the Women’s March was supposed to be inclusive to all women, it is clear that women must adhere to a very particular brand of feminism, and thus subscribe to a particular way of life.
In a meditation on the Blessed Mother, Sr. Helen Pashkevich says, “Who is woman? What is she? She is God’s call to Beauty, the one who holds a singular place in the cosmos, the one whose destiny will never occur again. God has never breathed the same breath into any woman before. And he never will again.”
Being a woman is incredible and should be celebrated. Women have important missions in life and have the ability to make their own choices. Women are more than a sum of their parts. I think a march for women is an incredible thing. However, the messages displayed at this year’s event-perhaps inadvertently- only intensified disrespectful and hypersexual agendas. And why should women who are pro-life and believe that women can be still be empowered without choosing abortion be ostracized? That is hardly inclusive.
Fighting vulgarity with vulgarity does not lead to human dignity. It is still possible to protest and celebrate the dignity of women’s bodies while still having respect for oneself. So put away the vulva hats and march for the uniqueness of women and foster respect for the sacredness and dignity of life and women’s bodies- like the March for Life!