A teacher friend in the Fox School District here in St. Louis posted a sweet, jubilant photograph of herself and her buddies smiling big and holding a couple of protest signs on the morning of the historic Women’s March on Saturday, January 21st, 2017.
I will not re-share the picture because it was basically STOLEN without permission from the woman’s Facebook page. One of her supposed “friends” screen-grabbed the photograph and posted it on a local on-line group based in Jefferson County, Missouri.
Trumpists on the page immediately piled on with the glee of vicious attack dogs chomping a bloody steak. They began publicly shaming and denigrating the teachers in the photograph. Damn were those comments ugly. They called the women a “disgrace” and questioned their ability and fitness to teach or even be around children (no matter that children were a large number of the participants at the Women’s March and they seem to have survived intact).
So many people shared the STOLEN photograph that the incident made the local news. Some of the women were chastised by their own schools as though they were naughty school children. There was a school board meeting. There was talk of disciplining the teachers involved. No matter that of the six women in the photo, only two were holding the signs and they are not teachers!
This quote on the local news website sums up what people were saying only in MUCH less offensive, ugly terms:
“I think as teachers, being part of this community, they do not need to be so vulgar”
I don’t believe the people commenting truly gave a rat’s ass about the “vulgar language” of the Women’s March. They certainly didn’t care when Trump said it in a sexist, misogynist and rapey context. They happily elected him President just the same. Do they seriously expect me or anyone else to believe they are *sob* SHOCKED over the word “pussy” for any other reason that women chose to re-claim the word and use it in a context of empowerment and yes … joy.
Do they seriously expect me to believe they are horribly distressed by women who went for a walk in their pink and purple hats on a gorgeous, blue-sky day? No. Of course not. What they were really outraged about was the fact that these women have the courage and independent force of will to exercise their constitutional rights; to demand freedom, equality and justice for themselves and for ALL minorities.
It’s an OUTRAGE, right?
The outcry about the teacher’s “language” is such a weak, pathetic deflection from much more urgent and pressing issues. It fits hand in glove with the utterly ridiculous, petty complaints about how the women didn’t “clean up after themselves” like good little housewives. Marchers deliberately laid down their signs in DC and Chicago as a conscious act of protest. It was a valid, world-wide political action. Not a freakin’ picnic.
This minimizing of women’s words and actions is just another ho-hum “get-back-in-the -kitchen” sexism used by extreme Trumpists who simply REFUSE TO FACE the glaring fact of their President’s “unpresidented” unpopularity. Not to mention the wholesale rejection of his policies, his worldview and their belief system; both in America and around the globe.
Teachers are citizens first. Yes Trumpists, it’s STILL a Democratic Republic (at least for now). We teachers are allowed to have a voice in the politics of this nation. We are permitted to express dissent. Not by the men in our lives, and not by YOU, but by the Constitution itself. NOBODY has the right to demand our submissive silence, moral purity and infantilization just because we are women who work with children. It is 2017 not 1817.
What angers me most is that these women, who marched in one of the most peaceful demonstrations in world history were dragged in front of school authorities and told that they were a “disappointment”. What infuriates me is that the false morality, the fake religious outrage and salacious nonsense on the JeffCo site not only risked these women’s right to freedom of speech. It put their careers at risk. What’s next? You wanna put a Scarlet “P” on all the teachers who dared to march? Dinnae be daft. We will wear it with the same pride we wore our pussy hats.
Word to the wise. You gonna be homeschooling your kids in a hot minute if you wanna fire every teacher who marched on that momentous day. Good luck with that.
The Women’s March had flaws, sure. We still have far to go in terms of racial inclusiveness and showing our absolute and sustained dedication to intersectional feminism. We still have to check ourselves and make sure we’re not only marching for ourselves but for ALL minorities. But quite simply, I cannot imagine a world where there was no Women’s March after Trump’s inauguration. Nobody can tell me that it wasn’t a spectacular beginning to what we hope can translate into a full-time, dedicated and unstoppable Trump resistance movement.
What I would like to say to the six women who were in that photograph, and to EVERYONE everywhere who took part in the March, or would like to participate in future political actions:
Let’s not be afraid.
Don’t be silenced.
Don’t be silenced.