MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Thu 19-Jan-17 13:18:20

Guest post: "I'm marching because Trump's presidency will affect us all"

Catherine Mayer says Women's Marches are a powerful way to rebuke Trump's polarised and polarising world view - whatever side of the Atlantic we're on

Catherine Mayer

Co-founder, Women's Equality Party

Posted on: Thu 19-Jan-17 13:18:17


Lead photo

"The London March and sister marches aren't primarily protests. They are affirmations of the things we hold dear"

This Saturday, the first day of Donald Trump's presidency, I will join the Women's March on London. I will march as a US voter who tried and failed to keep Trump out, and as the co-founder of the UK Women's Equality Party. I will march alongside thousands of party members and a wide range of other organisations and individuals. We will march in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington and at least 386 sister marches taking place across five continents.

It is already clear how women in the US will suffer as a direct consequence of Trump's election. Plans are gathering pace to defund the largest US provider of family planning services, Planned Parenthood, and to restrict abortion rights. At least 46 states are already debating anti-abortion bills. This is only the tip of the iceberg. For many women, the impact will be harder still, because of their race or sexual orientation, because they are differently abled or from a religious community or of an age or social class that is already subject to systemic discrimination.

Some people question why we should have a London March. It's true that we on this side of the Atlantic already have a lot to worry about, with the pay gap still at 19%, 77% of mothers subject to maternity discrimination at work and the UK hurtling towards Brexit without any clear focus on mitigating the repercussions for women. On average women are poorer than men, earn less if employed, are more likely to be caregivers and therefore rely more heavily on public services routinely targeted for cutbacks by governments in times of upheaval. And upheaval is coming. The female half of the population will bear the brunt.

The marches cannot halt Trump's presidency or alleviate specific injustices. What they can and will do is help to demonstrate where the vast majority of public sentiment lies

I will march because what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. The US is the world's largest economy and its largest exporter of ideas. The misogyny, racism and homophobia that marked Trump's election campaign is poisoning discourse everywhere and emboldening extremists in many parts of the world. His denial of climate change will affect the very air we breathe. We cannot allow ourselves to treat Trump as if he were a normal President. To do so would be to misunderstand the nature of the beast.

The London March creates a platform to discuss local and national concerns as well as international issues - and it's pretty hard to disentangle these things anyway. Everywhere, mainstream politics is letting women down. Economies that harness the productive power of women perform far better - yet here we are at the beginning of 2017 and there still isn't a single society that is fully gender equal. The many men who will join the marches understand that Trump's war on women is part of a wider reality that hurts them too. Gender equality remains a distant dream and, increasingly, the rights and protections we do enjoy are coming under attack.

Yet another answer is that the London March and sister marches aren't primarily protests. They are affirmations of the things we hold dear. They are about creating alliances and movements. The London March came about because women in the UK heard about plans for the Washington event and independently put out calls for action in solidarity. The Women's Equality Party, contacted by some of these women, alerted them to each other's initiatives and agreed to help with logistics and organisation. As a young party - registered with the Electoral Commission in July 2015 - WE have had to learn very quickly how to do such things and we believe in sharing the benefits of that experience.

Like the Women's Marches, we are collaborative and non-partisan. WE do not believe that the struggle for gender equality belongs to one part of the political spectrum. Only by working together, by combining our voices, can we make real and lasting change.

Of course, the marches cannot halt Trump's presidency or alleviate specific injustices. What they can and will do is help to demonstrate where the vast majority of public sentiment lies. A false narrative has gained currency with Trump's victory—that this was a popular victory, when in fact he didn't even win the popular vote; that the prejudices to which he gave voice are shared by most of us.

It is important to puncture this narrative because mainstream politics is apt to accept dominant narratives and then to try to curry favour with voters rather than interrogating and challenging their presumed views. It is important to ensure the political mainstream knows that most of us don't want any part of the polarised and polarising world of Trump. We want a society in which every one of us, and our children, can flourish. Let's make our voices heard.

By Catherine Mayer

Twitter: @catherine_mayer

MercyMyJewels Thu 19-Jan-17 14:45:42

We already have a thread about the Women's March.

I think the talk of 'Cis-privilege' by the organisers has not been received warming by many women, in particular this

MercyMyJewels Thu 19-Jan-17 14:50:42


PhoenixJasmine Thu 19-Jan-17 14:58:53

On the thread already posted by the march organisers, they claimed that is wasn't an anti-Trump protest, which seems to be your reason for joining, Catherine.

I'm really disappointed in the Women's Equality Party. I was a founding member, and got involved locally. The central party were awful at communicating with us as to what was going on, and after the fiasco with not being able to define a woman as an adult human female, policies focusing on men rather than women (men staying on maternity wards etc) I allowed my membership to lapse. So much potential, wasted.

MercyMyJewels Thu 19-Jan-17 15:20:24

Actually the thread title was changed some time after the thread was posted Phoenix. It as originally something about marching to because we have a lot to protect, or lose, or something to that effect. Presumably it was changed because there were no replies. But certainly, the original title was better

glenthebattleostrich Thu 19-Jan-17 16:10:34

Just out of curiosity, have the WOMEN'S equality party figured out what a woman is yet?

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Thu 19-Jan-17 17:27:11

Sophie Walker has made the WEP's disdain for women pretty clear on here in the past. I notice you've carefully avoided any reference to gender identity so I assume you've heard about that.

Have you noticed that the organisers of the Washington march include people who reject the existence of sex-based oppression, support child prostitution, and accuse lesbians of transphobia for being homosexual, thus promoting rape culture in the very communities where young lesbians should be able to safely discover their sexuality?

Not to mention their extremely offensive tweets about cis privilege and their rudeness about Audre Lorde. Oh, and the Winnipeg March saying that anyone who is unwilling to say transwomen are women isn't welcome.

This is not a march in favour of women.


roseshippy Thu 19-Jan-17 17:43:30

Apparently not

"WE also recognise that the binary words “woman” and “man” do not reflect the gender experience of everyone in our country, and support the right of all to define their sex or gender or to reject gendered divisions as they choose."

So their whole platform is meaningless as it's based on women's equality but they refuse to define 'woman'.

EmpressOfTheSpartacusOceans Thu 19-Jan-17 18:02:11

Here's the link to the guest post Sandi Toksvig wrote.

This was just after WEP had tweeted in support of Tara Hudson, the transwoman who was in prison for violence and who was moved to a female prison, complete with their "seven-inch-surprise".

We asked questions then about WEP's definition of women. Several pages and a lot of tweets later, Sophie Walker arrived, denied that being a woman was in any way linked to biology and went again.

We were unimpressed.

MercyMyJewels Thu 19-Jan-17 18:18:55

Had a scan read of that Empress. Grim response. But great writing and wit from the MN lot as ever. Bedtime reading I think

How the fuck can WEP get it so wrong?
......Yes we support women except where males with dresses tell us what we ought to think; now where's that No 66 to Non-men?

roseshippy Thu 19-Jan-17 19:01:28

That relevant reply in full

"Ok. So here's an explanation of our decision to retweet a petition in support of moving Tara Hudson to a female prison.

This means we support the rights of women – including trans women – to be treated with dignity and respect, including when they have been found guilty of a crime, and regardless of the nature of that crime."

[so that's including rapists and women killers; incidentally does anyone know if transwoman Kayleigh Woods, whom The Guardian said 'was assigned male at birth' (lolwtf?) is being held in a women's or men's prison while on trial for a sadistic murder?]

"Tara Hudson has been living as a woman since her teens. She did not adopt that identity in order to receive a ‘softer’ punishment in a women’s prison. She identifies as a woman, and WE stand behind her right to be regarded as such."

living as a woman, in this case, involved cam shows where she showed off her penis, and profiles on 'hung angels', because obviously women are 'hung'.

roseshippy Thu 19-Jan-17 19:01:58

sadistic murder of a woman, I should say.

BeyondCanSeeTheEmperorsBellend Thu 19-Jan-17 19:47:55

Yep, sorry guest poster, you're not selling it.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 19-Jan-17 20:17:07

You're definitely not selling it. The explanations offered on the Feminism Chat board were very unimpressive. The London march isn't an anti Trump march, we were told, but no other clear purpose was offered.

Actually, no, we were offered one specific: the thought that the march would celebrate "the gorgeousness that women bring to the world." Do hope there will be plenty of opportunity to perform femininity, as this seems key.

Start telling us about "cis privilege" and you're unlikely to get a lot of feminist enthusiasm. The women who might have been keen to come to a feminist event (me, for instance) have been totally alienated.

It seems odd that an American voter is the co-founder of the WEP, which I understood was British. Presumably you have dual nationality, OP, though can anyone be entitled to vote in two nations (genuine question - have no idea.) It seems like two bites of the cherry.

venusinscorpio Thu 19-Jan-17 20:25:37

It shouldn't have been branded as a Women's March. It isn't. What's wrong with an anti Trump march with a strong feminist presence? People may have been able to put their differences aside for that.

BeyondCanSeeTheEmperorsBellend Thu 19-Jan-17 20:28:02

So are the WEP pro-gorgeousness? grin

venusinscorpio Thu 19-Jan-17 20:31:43

Just like you shouldn't have called your party "the women's equality party" and then campaign for transwomen in women's prisons and dads being able to stay over in maternity wards. You're confusing your party with a party which actually sticks up for women.

venusinscorpio Thu 19-Jan-17 20:33:22

And we all know there isn't one of those.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 19-Jan-17 20:40:59

When it comes down to gorgeousness, surely we should all be applying the makeup by the ton? Actually being a woman is nothing. It's the performance art of femininity that really seems to matter. We should all Google the pix of Tara. Ok, they don't show the 7 inch surprise, but look at Tara's amazing hair extensions: anyone can see how feminine Tara is.

Batteriesallgone Thu 19-Jan-17 20:40:59

Sounds a bit ridiculous to me. Marching in solidarity with women - like Trump is the first politician who has sexually harassed women?

Jumping on the 'boo Trump' bandwagon just helps to reinforce this idea that there's the odd bad apple (who's so bad everyone protests, obviously! hmm ) but normal blokes are perfectly lovely and fine and never do anything sexist.

I don't need a symbolic march against some dude over the Atlantic. I want a women's party to be tackling the serious issues here and now, in homes and workplaces, where women and women's work is devalued and taken for granted.

But I can't see that happening when your definition of woman is so off, as per other pp.

BeyondCanSeeTheEmperorsBellend Thu 19-Jan-17 20:43:26


BeyondCanSeeTheEmperorsBellend Thu 19-Jan-17 20:44:33

Ah it's showing now. Must be another one of those glitches that are nothing to do with the porn redirects or the slow site

IvorHughJarrs Thu 19-Jan-17 21:04:07

Agree with everything said about the gender issues here and am not keen at all on your claiming to promote/defend women while pushing the rights of transgender women ahead of ours

I am also deeply uncomfortable about a march against a democratically elected leader of another country. I would be infuriated if people in other countries thought their opinion counted over our democratic process and am not sure I want to assume I have that right for the USA. Also I am happy to protest against a political action or decision I disagree with but not against the person

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 19-Jan-17 21:05:10

I agree, batteriesallgone. What is the point of women in London marching in protest against the results of another country's election?

roseshippy Thu 19-Jan-17 21:19:59

So this march is in conjunction with the March on Washington, which takes as its inspiration (inter alia)

Marsha P Johnson who identified as a man , who said he was a 'half-sister'

Also "We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice. We must create a society in which women, in particular women—in particular Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, and queer and trans women—are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments."

So some women (including trans) are more equal than others.

"We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. This includes access to non-judgmental, comprehensive healthcare with no exceptions or limitations"

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