Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there? I frightened a little mouse under the chair.

I don't quite remember when I started thinking about participating in the Women's Marches, but somehow my thoughts went from, "That might be something I might do if I were into that sort of thing," to "I might be into this sort of thing," to "Okay, so we're doing this."

So we made plans and we made signs and when the day came we loaded the kids into the van and headed out to Raleigh. We weren't even out of the driveway before we ran into our first co-marchers—our nextdoor neighbours went as well! When we were parking we ran into another neighbour (Crystal, who organizes the MLK trash pick-up day) who just happened to have a few extra hats to hand out, which she offered to us.




The event coordinators reminded the marchers that this was a family-friendly rally—and to keep slogans (both written and verbal) decent and inoffensive. Really, it was a peaceful and uplifting gathering. The most difficult thing I had to explain to my children was why the pink "cat" hats/signs.

We hadn't told them this part about the president yet. And so I explained the impossible to my sweet little girls (not because of a hat or a sign made by some foul-mouthed protester but because of the POTUS):

"Well, it's because 'pussy' is a rather derogatory word for 'vagina,' and the president used that word when he was describing to some friends exactly how he would like to sexually assault a woman. Hearing him talk like that about someone made people upset. They don't think that men should talk that way about women. So they decided they would own the word and turn it into kind of a mascot for the march. But it's not a word you should ever use in place of vagina."

With that conversation under our belt, the rest of the outing was a breeze.

The kids were all excited to get to hold a sign.

I read John Lewis (et. al.'s) March trilogy this week (it's a graphic novel (but don't be scared because graphic simply means that it's in comic-book form, not that, it's, like, lewd)) and pulled a quote from it (which was from one of his famous speeches in real life): "[We] struggle against a vicious and evil system that is controlled and kept in order for, and by, a few white men throughout the world."



Our other signs have quotes by Malala Yousafzai: "If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it?"; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich: "Well-behaved women seldom make history"; and J.K. Rowling: “Those who choose not to empathise enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy."

I could have kept going, I'm sure, but we were running out of hands to hold things!

It was quite the march to get to the march itself (we parked about a mile away because things were looking more and more crowded as we headed downtown) and as we walked our numbers swelled.

Here we are waiting for a train so we can cross the tracks (the kids were rather skittish with excitement (a train! a train!) and fear (it's so loud! what if it jumps off the track?)):



We'd soon gone from our little family of six to taking up the entire sidewalk! Even then we were unprepared for the number of people already marching in the designated marching area.



We soon merged in and found ourselves being carried down to Moore Square.



Andrew walked in front with Zoë in the hiking backpack (she called for me the whole time, "Mama! Mama! Mama!"), Rachel and Miriam stayed right behind him (clinging to each other's hands because under no circumstances were they to let go of each other), and Benjamin and I brought up the rear (firmly holding hands, of course). Getting separated from each other was one of my biggest fears of the day.

All four kids had a sticker on their backs (under their jackets) that said, "If lost, please call..." but fortunately they didn't prove themselves necessary.

Here's a few pictures of the epicentre of the rally:



The other side of this sign said, "We will over-comb!":



I took this picture actually to showcase Biden's "I'm with her" sign, but there's another sign kind of upstaging that one, isn't there? That word is also on the do-not-say list.



With over 17,000 people in attendance, I'd say we resisted "hugely."



Princess Leia—and the resistance—was a rather popular theme for posters as well.



One designer offered their poster for protesters to use, so we printed out a copy (which now lives in Rachel's room). It says, "A woman's place is in the resistance."



We stayed at the rally for about an hour and then decided to call it a day. Even if it was a family friendly rally, rallies really aren't designed for small children and our two little ones were ready to throw a protest of their own—and not a very peaceful one, at that.

It took us at least ten minutes to get out of the square and then we found, to our surprise, that the rally kept on going down the street! That's the end of it there (with the ambulance), right in front of the capitol building.



We'd never been on this side of the capitol building before (we always picnic on the other side), but we might have to visit this side again because Benjamin found a statue of George Washington:



Here are the girls following Andrew across the street:



And here's Zoë, succumbed to sleep at last:



She doesn't nap often but apparently getting up early to weave our way through a crowd of 17,000 people while being strapped to her dad's back was stressful enough that she was happy to nurse right to sleep (once she'd yelled enough to convince her dense parents that she wanted to be in the front-carrier with mom and not in the back-carrier with dad).

All in all, it was a good day and a good experience (and I'm sure I'll write more about it later).

8 comments:

  1. Where was the plug for the scream hole?!

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  2. Thank you for the link about your "well behaved woman" poster, now I better understand. You are a good example of the power of a well behaved woman making helping to make history. As I watched the pictures of the marches across the country, but especially the one in Utah, I thought of the prophetic talk by Elder Nelson, "A Plea to My Sisters". So much power in the well behaved women your poster represents-- Thanks for making history.

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  3. I laughed at the Hamilton reference.

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  4. And that pose of Benjamin in front of the Hamilton statue! Haha. I'm really proud of you all.

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  5. Hi Nancy! I really like the way you handled explaining the "Pussyhat" phenomenon to your kids. I also really liked your explanations about re-appropriation (I think you linked to a blogpost about it or something?) on facebook the other day. I can't find you on Facebook anymore, but would you be willing to send me the link to that blogpost/article you posted? I've been asked by my Father-in-law to explain the March to him, and I think pussyhats are going to be something I have to try to explain. Ahhhhhhh. I need all the help I can get! Thanks!!!!

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    1. Here is a link to one of the articles I used in my explanation: The Reappropriation of Stigmatizing labels: Implications for Social Identity.

      I think there was one other...here it is.

      Good luck explaining the march! :) I'll be back on FB eventually but decided to take a bit of a break until some things blow over.

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    2. Thank you so much!!! And a FB break would be SUCH a good idea right now . . .

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