Driving down to New Orleans this past Saturday I kept stealing anxious glances at the iron colored sky out my windshield. Torrential rain had been in the forecast since I had started obsessively checking it ten days prior. Rain or shine I was going to march but my fingers were crossed that I’d be able to take my camera safely on this expedition.
I consider myself a competent writer, though my lack of doing so in recent years has left me attempting to vigorously rub the rust off. However, above all else, I am a visual storyteller. Photography has been a job, a hobby, and a passion of mine for over ten years. At parties or weddings I can use my lens as a security blanket, masking my introversion behind glass. I might not be able to strike up a conversation with a random stranger but I have no problem shoving my camera in their face.
My philosophy during this march was to capture the people in all their passionate, angry, happy, glory. Thousands of signs would get their due documentation, as evidenced by the “Ten Best Signs of the Women’s March” articles peppering my news feed, but I felt the individuals who made up this massive movement would be lost in the shuffle. It’s easy for our detractors to demonize a bunch of faceless women in pick hats. My hope is to make that just a little bit more difficult.
The Women’s March wasn’t perfect. The lack of diversity was glaringly obvious. It’s old news at this point that white women completely dropped the ball this election (53% of white women who voted did so for Trump) and I acknowledge that women of color must feel utterly betrayed. Nothing says white privilege like voting for the pussy grabbing racist because you think that he’s the lesser of two evils. Do white women have so little empathy towards other women that we can dismiss their travails without a backwards glance?
As white feminists we are quick to point out white male privilege and yet ignore our own. The fact that 3 million women marched across the country and not a single arrest was made shows privilege. Instead of getting defensive when a woman of color feels exasperated and disenfranchised, shut your mouth and listen. We need to join forces and embrace intersectional feminism. We need to reach out to the white women who voted Trump because black women can not. The next Black Lives Matter protest, white women need to be on the front lines. We have a long way to go and a lot to prove.
The rain held off until the very end and I ran back to the Marigny wet, aching and filled with a sense of purpose. Being surrounded by vibrantly impassioned women all day, women who thought like me and respected me was what I needed to be renewed. Feminists of Louisiana, we are not alone. We are here and we are strong. Let’s continue to scream for our rights and beat down the patriarchy. Enough is enough and we will be triumphant.