I am truly astounded that your knowledge of current events is lacking so severely that you could reduce the entirety of the Women's March movement to a desire for free birth control and abortions. Such an oversight calls your judgement into question and serves as a blatant disregard for the concerns and fears of several individuals to whom you are sworn to serve. Indeed, for the sake of your constituents, the diverse citizens of Mississippi who you clearly fail to understand, perhaps you should resign.
For the sake of your underrepresented constituents, and for the sake of women everywhere having to defend and justify the validity of their feelings (though men voicing their opinions on policy never seem to have to do the same), I'd like to provide you with some knowledge regarding the feminine experience in America (understanding that this knowledge is in many ways limited to my own experience as a white female).
We marched because we are not equal.
We are not equal because we can't even participate in protests and marches focused on issues specific to our experiences without requiring the support or voice of men to be deemed "valid" or "legitimate." Perhaps, if this was not branded as a "Women's March," there wouldn't be so many men peppering us incessantly with trick questions meant to minimize our inequality and challenge our belief in feminism.
We are not equal because we still live in a country where men tell us what feminism is and what feminists believe, and then drive that false discourse so far that it has actually become the narrative for some of our fellow women who criticize us as well. (Side Note: If you think feminism means hating men, you're wrong).
We are not equal because we can't even march and protest without being called "whiny,"sensitive," "snowflakes" for wearing pink hats, while at the same time also being called "ugly," "butch," "feminazi's" for holding signs with language that has been deemed overly aggressive (for a woman) or "un-lady-like."
We are not equal because our right to affordable birth control is still contested even though there has NEVER been a serious threat levied against insurance-covered Viagra. Meaning that, in the eyes of our government, your right to get a hard-on is more constitutionally protected than my own right to bodily-autonomy.
We're not equal because we don't even have the right to our own bodies. No man has ever watched a group of 8 women sign policies about organs they'll never experience into laws that effect access to prostate exams, sexual health education, and STD screenings for millions of men around the world.
We are not equal because even though the creation of a fetus requires an egg from the female and sperm from the male (a 50/50 transaction), the male's responsibility to the resulting creation ends with ejaculation while my responsibility (at least legally) extends over the next 18 years.
We are not equal because even if a Christian woman finds herself pregnant and does not seek an abortion because of her religious beliefs, Christian men still challenge the right of other women, sometimes non-believers, to make a different choice. If Christians aren't walking around smacking cigarettes out of people's mouths, knocking beer bottles out of their hands, or breaking down the doors of people engaged in pre-marital sex to preach the gospel, why then are they personally responsible for our sins and souls ONLY when it comes to abortion? Don't tell a woman she's going to go to hell for aborting a baby if you're not going to tell the guy at the bar next to the clinic that he is too for being a drunkard.
We're not equal because even though the highest court in the land has already made the carefully considered decision to grant us the right to abortion, new and old politicians still promise to repeal Roe v. Wade each election cycle; and we're not equal because interestingly enough, no one has ever proposed to overturn the Supreme Court's 1942 Skinner v. Oklahoma decision, which effectively ended the practice of compulsory sterilization for males deemed mentally or morally (due to a criminal history) unfit to re-produce. Why? Because men decided they didn't like having the government down their pants EIGHTY YEARS AGO.
We're not equal because Republican men hide behind pro-life banners to illicit votes from the religious base while failing to make the important distinction between pro-fetus and pro-life; because you can't really be pro-life when you close health clinics (thereby eliminating pregnancy prevention education and contraceptive care) in impoverished neighborhoods, hypocritically force poor women to give birth, and then cut funding for EVERY single program that intends to provide that new life with access to affordable healthcare, quality education and housing. I mean who cares what happens to the fetus once it becomes an actual child born into poverty, right?
We're not equal because we're still not paid as much as men for the work that we do. Instead we're raised into states of complete complacency because it's not "lady-like" to talk money and figures with your boss while making the case for a raise.
We're not equal because women of color are still paid even LESS than white women for equal work and are still overlooked for job opportunities when their name is something other than Britney or Ashley.
We're not equal because women of color are still forced into adhering to unattainable beauty standards in a culture that encourages bleached skin, hiding natural hair, and shrinking to fit someone else's definition of beauty.
And while we're on the subject, we're not equal because magazines and media still bombard us with photo shopped images that men hang on their walls and make the wallpaper on their cell phones, and we're judged when we can't live up to a computer-animated image.
We're not equal because women of color aren't acknowledged as a group of women in this country with their own experiences and contexts, outside of white feminism and the patriarchy, even though they deserve a platform to speak out about those experiences and educate the rest of us as a means of forming true bonds of ally-ship with white women.
We're not equal because Trans-women our forced to abide by a government that only acknowledges their existence when it comes down to what bathroom they use.
We're not equal because LGBTQ women still live in fear because of yo-yo government arguments about rights that have already been granted to them, and because laws on paper do not equate to differences in how people with old perspectives treat those marginalized groups in society.
We're not equal because we still can't walk in what this Administration calls the greatest country in the world without the fear of being raped or assaulted.
We're not equal because we can't go to parties or social events without having OUR morality and character called into question when a man rapes one of US. And we're not equal because, when we are raped, we live in a country where our rapists "get off" because of how important their athletic skills are to a team or how much money their mommies and daddy's have.
We're not equal because we're not allowed to sell our own sex for money, but the massive multi-billion dollar, male-dominated porn industry can bring a man in to assault us, punch us, spit on us, and degrade us while paying us pennies and pocketing millions as long as the male participants have sex with us on camera too.
We're not equal because instead of living in a country where men are raised NOT to view women as sex objects we're still sent home from work and school for showing too much of our shoulders or legs to a male-audience that is not held to the same standards of self-control.
We're not equal because we're still taxed for our natural biological processes.
We're not equal because a woman can't run for President without having articles written about how she dresses, how "tired" and "run down" she looks because of her age, and whether or not she expresses "appropriate" displays of emotion.
We're not equal because we still don't have reasonable maternity policies in the labor force unlike every other industrialized Nation in the world.
We're not equal because we live in a country where, when 3 million of us march together in protest, instead of acknowledging our grievances, the highest elected official gas-lights and presents "alternative facts" instead to distract from these issues.
We're not equal because we're still called whiners when we bring serious policy concerns to the table that are grounded in peer-reviewed research.
We're not equal because even though our critics love to remind us that women in other countries "have it worse," as a Nation we still don't have a leg to stand on when we go into other nations to give speeches about the greatness of American democracy because not ALL of US are free.
We're not equal because we still live in a country that does not seem to understand that change does NOT come merely from written laws alone, but also requires the changing of minds and hearts; a departure from institutionalized notions about male intellectual superiority and power.
We want a country that leads by example; that walks the equality walk instead of talking the equality talk.
And that's just a few. A few reasons limited to my own experience as a white woman in America. Women of Color, trans women, and LGBTQ women could write entirely different lists that are just as long.
So, please, Senator, do some research and do not become part of the misinformation wave currently spreading across our Country.
This is about MUCH more than birth control, and we WILL keep marching.
We WILL keep threatening the re-election efforts of politicians in every corner of this Nation.
We WILL keep correcting the misinformation and fighting for fairness, truth, and transparency in our government until we can confirm through the actions of our elected representatives that we have been heard.