The Women’s March: The Party I Wasn’t Invited To

All day Saturday I walked around with a heavy heart. Women’s marches were taking place all over the world. Women banned together to make a stand for equality. It should have been a beautiful thing for me to witness, for me to participate in. But it wasn’t. At the end of the day, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed chock-full of pictures from marches all over the country, I finally identified this emotion I had been carrying with me all day. This was like the pain of high school all over again. This was the cool kids party that I wasn’t invited to. Actually, it was even worse than that. It was a high school party I wasn’t invited to and expressly told not to attend when I heard whispers about it from those who got the glossy invitation.

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I consider myself a feminist. My dad and several of my siblings will tell you I’m liberal – at times shockingly so considering the family I grew up in. I believe in equal rights for men and women. I believe in breaking all those horrible glass ceilings that exist in the workforce. I used to work in a male-dominated profession and constantly worked to prove that I was more than a feminine form sitting across the desk. I really thought we would be inaugurating our first female President this year – and was excited to live through such a historic moment. I believe sexual assault is a horrible reality for so many women today and it needs to be stopped. I believe all women should be paid what their male counterparts are paid. I know how to change a car tire, check fluid levels in my car and how to patch a hole in the wall. I can wield a hammer and shoot a bow and arrow. I worry about having a President who has so blatantly disrespected and objectified women in the past. I wanted no part in his election and fear what it means to support a President, because he is your country’s president, when you don’t agree with him on so many levels.

Given all of the above reasons, and so many more that I am not going to bore you in illuminating, I assumed the Women’s March would be something I could get behind. What could be better than women standing together to peacefully demand equality? It hearkens back to the suffragette movement and made me think of the scene in Mary Poppins when the women are boldly and fashionably marching off to rally for change. They are brave and vibrant. They hold their heads high and are so sure that change is inevitable. In my head, initially, I was envisioning being part of something momentous and meaningful. But then everyone around me began getting their invitations and mine never arrived.

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I should have known I wouldn’t get an invitation. I should have realized my desire for equality, my abhorrence of sexual violence, my deep-seated disdain for the objectification of women, my need to be heard and my real concerns about our current President wouldn’t be enough to get me in. Because I’m Pro-life, or anti-abortion as we say in the Journalism world, and that means I’m not welcome.

Apparently, a conviction about when life begins and how every person should be treated makes me anti-woman. But I am not anti woman. For example, did you know that according to UN statistics, there are some 100 million girls missing around the world. Missing because they have been discarded on the sides of roads, drowned, maimed or thrown away in garbage cans; but the majority of them are missing because they have been aborted through sex-selective abortions. Imagine the number of women who could have marched today if those missing girls weren’t missing at all but living and rallying for their rights. It’s not anti-woman to think this is a travesty.

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I’m not naive. I understand abortion is a polarizing and honestly complicated issue. I know it is emotionally charged and for many it is seen as religious intolerance. But isn’t it intolerant to ban feminist pro-life groups from the March? To tell them they as women aren’t welcome? The work force already tells us that. We aren’t good enough to receive equal pay and apparently some of us aren’t good enough to stand with our fellow sisters in solidarity for women’s equality.

Honestly, being told not to attend the Women’s March hurts more than not getting invited to that high school party. When I didn’t get that teenage invitation I went home and cried to my mom asking her why some girls didn’t like me, why I didn’t get invited to the party half the class was attending, what I should do to fit in. Years later she told me that day was one of the hardest for her as a parent because it breaks your heart to see your child not loved and accepted by her peers. My heart feels as though it is breaking now – probably as my mom’s did all those years ago. Again I am not accepted by my peers, by the very people who are demanding equality. Okay, so I have a different opinion about one issue but we agree on so many others. Why does that have to be the decisive one? Why can’t I be loved and respected and appreciated by my fellow American women and still believe abortion is a travesty of our times?

My heart is heavy as I scan through the pictures of the party it feels like everyone else attended… And yet I’m still hopeful – perhaps naively so. I still hope that next year, should women rally again and I hope they do, that I will finally hold that golden invitation in my hand; that I will finally be seen as worthy. Until then I will continue to work at proving my worth as a person and as a women. I will continue to volunteer at homes for unwed mothers to give them the support they need in this world. I will continue to teach my students the importance of equality and the detrimental effects of our objectification. I will continue to demand my brothers treat women with respect. I will keep plodding away in my little corner of the world to exact change for women here – so that one day it can mean equality for women everywhere.

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Katy Rose
Filed In: Life

18 thoughts on “The Women’s March: The Party I Wasn’t Invited To

  1. patty

    There were no exclusions at the march in Helena, Montana. All were welcome and all marched. I saw pro life signs in the crowd. 10000 people came for all causes and it was amazing. My first time getting political. Men, women, children. White, black native. Straight, gay. Young and old. Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Atheist. It was an astounding cross section of America. All walking in peace.

    I am sorry you felt excluded in your city. This is why I marched – I believe these choices are intensely personal and should be up to the individual. Whether it’s whether to have a baby or how you want to end your life. It’s not up to a religion or government to intervene. Follow your belief system.

    1. Sarah

      ^what Patty said! I hope you come to the next march! All are welcome. Sending love and positive vibes to you

      1. Heidi

        Agree! I marched in SF and I’m pro-life as well. My first time, as well, getting political and marching – but women and men from all walks of life and beliefs were there. I think that was the sentiment that everyone shared… that everyone was welcome, despite what the original organizers may have conveyed.

  2. Cindy Ebinger

    I totally agree with Patty and Sarah. Did you feel excluded because the president of Planned Parenthood spoke? Please keep in mind that Planned Parenthood does not exist as an “abortion clinic”. It’s about healthcare for women and a protection of their right to choose. Also, pro-choice is not the same thing as pro-abortion. I hope you will attend the next march or rally or conference in your city as we speak up against the new administration in Washington and their proposed policies to squash our rights and the rights of all people. Stay strong and write or call your congressman(s) today!

  3. Lola

    Did someone literally told you that you were not welcome?
    People who support reproductive rights want to have the option in case they need it. Easy access to reproductive rights. Higher classes get them behind closed doors, while other women aren’t able to and fail to get what they need due to many economic and social constrains.
    So, you were not uninvited. And speaking up for yourself is fine. Nobody is forcing you to use this services, you can be there and support all other efforts at the same time while disagreeing on certain points.

  4. shelley Zurek

    You know Katie. We can participate. We just have to speak our mind as others do. I am right there with you. #ProLife #ProWoman #ProChild I won’t apologize and I won’t back down. One belief #ProWoman does not preclude the others #ProLife #ProChild. I don’t care how much prochoice want to argue. Who can not be #ProBaby? People are bashing Christians and people that are against abortion. I am NOT against wman being in control of their body. I am against the ending of a baby’s life…they are alive in there…and I believe they have rights from the moment of conception. But because I am both doesn’t make me not able to support other aspects of the woman’s movement. Just because we march with them, doesn’t mean we are with them on everything. We are IN the world but not of the world.

  5. Debbie

    I am a Christian. I belong to a very conservative church but I am also a liberal. I am pro-life….all lives! The woman who is sexually abused or pimped out., the woman who has to choose between paying her rent or buying groceries, cause some guy in a suit doesn’t think a person needs a livable wage. I was not invited to the march either. I am not sure where I belong. Why does it have to be all or nothing with people?

  6. Chelsea

    I dont know where you received your information, but you are wrong. Everyone was welcome. I am also pro-life and attended the march. It was a strong, beautiful and wonderful message of positivity that you should have felt welcomed to participate in. There were multiple feminist pro-life groups present there that were happy to engage and promote their political beliefs while celebrating feminism. Indeed, it was in fact the best representation of “pro-life” that I have seen in a long while. Part of the problem that I have with most pro-lifers is their willingness to criticize and pass judgement that verges on condemnation. It makes me feel ill not because I think their message is wrong, but they are so quick to throw that first stone. Its hard to find good Christian love and compassion when you see so much of that judgement spread within various conservative groups. As such, while I am still very much pro-life, I like to participate in movements that promote intersectionality, which is “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage” Thus, “through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us”. You recognize the difference in your own belief systems, but you refused to work with people that did not share or match your own belief structure. No one was asking you to change your beliefs. They were simply asking you to promote greater compassion, love and respect for women. All women were welcome at that march. All were respectful.

    And even if you’re not pro-choice, not allowing yourself to work with people that are different from you is like the refusing to work with a Muslim because they believe in Muhammad. I repeat, no one was asking you to change your beliefs. If anything, that march was a celebration of difference. I will leave you with this quote from Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cummin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” You can still keep you faith and the law, but I think you will find that part of being engaged in this world as a loving Christian is to also BE a man/woman for others. To show mercy and fight when much has been wronged. Keep and tend to your faith. No one is asking you to be a martyr. I think you will find that our current Pope would encourage modern Catholics to embrace what our faith means, which is “Universal”. As such, you must see Christ in all people regardless of their differences with you.

    1. Stephanie

      Chelsea,

      I think perhaps you misread or misunderstood what was written. While I agree with you entirely on the matter of spreading love, compassion, and respect I think the point of this post was to show that others are not and it is dividing what should be a unified women’s movement. Nowhere did I read this blogger say she would not march next to someone different than her or that she would not or is not compassionate to those facing different life circumstances than her. I am glad that you personally felt welcomed, loved, accepted and that all your beliefs you hold dear to you were recognized and supported. Please do not think, however, that all felt that way because they did not. This post, I believe, brings up a valid argument, something that needs to be addressed. We cannot simply shut people down and throw scripture at them because we believe them to be wrong, now that I think of it that is exactly what the Pharisees, that you wrote about earlier, did. The way I understood the post was that there is an over arching atmosphere of judgment and an inability to accept conservative/ pro-life women in the women’s movement. Modlychic is not the only one to feel this way! The New York Times wrote about this exact problem.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/us/womens-march-abortion.html

      1. Sukey

        Thanks for mentioning this storefront. It’s a strange outlier to the ar1&#a82e7;s resurgence. At the time when the Dundas strip was being revitalized in the 2000s, it strangely went the opposite direction and became a dead space with the lowest budget renovation.

  7. TLN

    Well my mom marched and she didn’t wait
    For any special invitation. It wasn’t based on popularity nor was it discriminatory. It was based on those being pro active. Don’t wait to be invited to a open, public event… be a bid dog n get off the porch! My mom did so you have no pity party excuse

  8. Jessica

    Basically it’s more like you were invited to the High School party, but didn’t get a special invitation, so you didn’t bother to attend. Now the party is over and you are trying make other people feel sorry for you because of it.

    You’re against abortion. Ok.

    No one is bullying you or forcing you to stay home from things. This entire post is absurd, yet beautifully written. There were so many pro-choice and pro-life women marching side-by-side. It’s too bad you didn’t see that or feel comfortable enough to check ahead of time.

  9. Susie Elmer

    To all the comments about how pro lifers weren’t publicly NOT invited, look it up, that happened! Actually, as a pro lifer, the March has guidelines found here, of what women attending believe. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/584086c7be6594762f5ec56e/t/5877e236cd0f68f052043067/1484251705644/WMW+Guiding+Vision+%26+Definition+of+Principles.pdf
    That specifically state that the March is for people who believe
    ● We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.

    I too wish the March was inclusive to ALL WOMEN!
    Disagreement is NOT DISCRIMINATION OR HATE! Stop discrimination against Christians, if Atheist are allowed to have the right to NOT believe, than we should have the right to believe!! I’m tired of being told that because I don’t agree with someone’s choice, I’m discriminating, but what about them not agreeing with my choices? What makes their rights more important than mine?!?!?

  10. Pingback: A Tale of Two Marches: On the 44th anniversary of Roe v Wade – Hwaet I Meant to Say

  11. deb p

    Read this on twitter, @jk_rowling – the deaths of Vulnerable African women , you may want to read about the USA gag rule, signed by trump 1/2017.

  12. MW

    If you believe that women should not have access to reproductive health then you are not a feminist. Feminists are those that believe in and fight for equal legal, political, social, and economic rights between the sexes. Men are not legally denied access to reproductive health care, but women are. Regardless of your personal stance on reproductive freedom, to work to deny that right to women is not feminist. It’s not a cafeteria. You can’t pick and choose.

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