With the advent of the Internet, or more importantly with the anonymity of the Internet, you have people that… well, act in ways they usually wouldn’t in the “real world”. Or at least, it’s more comforting to think of things that way. Abhorrent mindsets–those that are racist, sexist, xenophobic, mean-spirited, you name it–are present on the Internet in such great numbers that generally more sane people have grown numb to the hateful words of the vocal minority. With the rise of the Neo Nazis, however (calling them the far-right is dampening the effect of what a truly terrifying event this is), the general attitude of the ‘stick fingers in our ears and hum’ towards the hateful minority is deemed largely ineffective… and dangerous.
Friday was the day of the inauguration of the man who represented the views of these Neo Nazis–and their hopes for what they deem is a brighter future… at least, a brighter future of any straight white Christian male American. Despite losing the majority vote, Trump was able to win the Electoral College and a strong rural voter turnout in swing states, and while this is not a first in the nation’s history, it is the most striking example of the fallacies of the American democracy.
So in response, yesterday millions of people around the country, around the world in protest of our new President and what he and his government stood for. More specifically it was a “Woman’s March” to protest the government’s plans to severely hinder women’s healthcare and the right to abortions, amongst other things. However, anyone was welcome, and the march, at its core, meant more than that–it was to send a message that the people of America and the world were not going to take the rise of the Neo Nazis laying down.
It was a wonderful event, with swaths of people around the world marching in their cities, standing up for their rights and properly getting the attention of those in power. But of course, this is the Internet. And as such, negativity is abound, even on this momentous, record-breaking, positive movement.
I’m not even talking about the usual suspects–the Neo Nazis that would complain about the protest while they push their elected officials to pass bills that allow harm to come to peaceful protestors. If anything, their dismay and feeble flails on social media are exactly the response the March was meant for, because it means that they noticed, and that they’re worried for their governmental future.
No, I’m talking about those that spin negativity in even the most positive light. They are very similar in real life than they are on the Internet–there is something wrong with everything, and while that is factually true, to point it out in every scenario is reductive and ultimately not only useless, but ultimately a toxic mindset.
It’s a shame too. One particular Tweet in the sea of positive pictures and Women’s March signs really stuck out to me. In it, the person complained that there weren’t enough ‘all-inclusive’ signs out in the March, and as such she (I believe) did not want anything to do with this brand of ‘titties and vagina’ feminism.
Regardless of your feelings of feminism and how said boobs and cooches fall into it, the tweeter’s statement was flat-out false. Any cursory glance at the Women’s March signs had to do with women, and yes, a lot of them had to do with their healthcare because that was the core of the issue… but it’s also obvious that people where there to march for all sorts of issues. There were many signs for Black Lives Matter, the LQBT+ movement, and even in general opposition of Trump. Sure, there were a larger amount of signs talking about pussies, but that’s in direct response to one infamously horrible Trump quote, that makes for plenty of great sign slogans.
Instead, though, this particular person was looking for a very specific kind of sign… one in which the explicitly states that we need to care about every person that identifies as female, not just the ones with the vaginas. While not technically a bad statement in and of itself, to ask that of a March that is, in all intensive purposes, all inclusive comes across as mean-spirited. And to say that they want no part in this “exclusive” brand of feminism when the only wrongdoing they’ve done is not make enough signs of a certain nature is rather… well, it really has the opposite effect of what they want. If someone takes their toys and go home because a multi-million person protest didn’t have the prerequisite number of “be nice to all people that identify as female because you’ve clearly forgotten us” (even though they weren’t) signs, then what are you supposed to do?
The point is, it’s sad. The world, with Brexit, Trump, and the rise of the Neo Nazis is really facing a social crisis that… well, frankly, we’ve seen before, but we shouldn’t be seeing again. But yet, while millions unite to stand up to this threat, others still just want to find any reason to not want to participate and spin the whole thing in a negative light in an attempt to look like they’re still on the right side of it all.
By the way… it’s really not that hard to make your own sign.