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'This Pussy Grabs Back'

My take on the situation of the comments from people - male and female - regarding the Women's March on January 21st.

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This Pussy Grabs Back

There is something that I need to get off my chest. This is a story regarding the women's marches all over the world, and the reactions that were published by some people on Facebook. Most reactions were one-sided, and some people were offended.

Men reacted, saying that there was no reason to attract attention; women, particularly in the western world, would have nothing to complain about. But what about the man who says 'Grab 'm by the pussy', a man who is now making major decisions in a Western country and is one of the most important leaders in the world. And what about the rapes that happened in Germany? What about all the women that are bodyshamed because the media displays women as thin, what about all the young girls, teens and adults that feel like they have to confer to that image of women that is shown.

And yes, those men are partially right, the rights of women have increased in the past couple of years, and there are so much more opportunities that girls of my age have than women of my mom’s age, or even my grandma’s age. But think about the boys that get more of those opportunities, in different environments than the richer part of the population. Some girls do not get the same education as their male peers, and not because their lack of intelligence, but purely because they are a girl.

However, there are quite a few girls that do get the same education as boys, and sometimes they end up with higher results and sometimes they do not – because they are equally smart or just a little less good at that subject. They finish their higher education with the same marks as boys. But what do we see after that, after getting a degree and looking for a job: plenty of women that do the same job as men do not get paid as much as their male equal while there is no reason for that. Also they have less opportunities to climb up the ladder and take a higher position, while they do work just as hard as their male equal.

But the women’s marches for me do not only symbolize problems that might occur in the so called western world. There are plenty of countries in which there is no education (instead of the ‘no good education’ in various western nations) regarding female hygiene, or sexual relationships between women and men, and intersexual relationships. Girls are put away after having their first period: they cannot attend school anymore. They feel gross for a week because they use cloths and do not have the ability to wash them. They are ready to marry because they can now produce offspring. They do not have a choice in the man they will marry and this man can be 2 or 3 times as old as they are. Sex is only done unprotected, while often also as a pleasure (sometimes for man and woman, or only for man) which leads to illnesses and pregnancies which are not always planned and people don’t always have the resources for.

The men who react on the articles that are shown on Facebook might react in this way because they feel offended, because they do not treat women as such. And of course not all men treat women like I have written, and of course there is much to gain on male rape taboo and problems that occur in a some men’s life regarding gender inequality. And it surely matters in what environment you were brought up in, because being brought up with good values teaches you to respect women and girls. However, there is are large group of men not respecting women due to all sorts of reasons – upbringing, education, past relationships with women – and that brought these women all around the world together to march, peacefully, to attract attention to a worldwide problem, to ask if something could change. This march was about equality for everyone: whatever your gender, whatever your sexuality, whatever your weight, whatever your disabilities, whatever your talents. These women, whether physically present or just with the marching women in thought for whatever reason, want us to look at what might bring us closer together in these times of division instead of further separation.

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