By: Liberate Zealot
So after some issues (damn metro!) the roommate and I made it to the We Are Woman Rally right around noon.
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We missed several speakers and one performer. Mara Keisling, who spoke at the Unite Against the War on Women Rally, was back, but sadly I didn't see her speech. However, all the speeches are up on-line if you care to check them out yourself. And the bands, sounds system, and over all organization of the Rally was the best I've seen yet.
My favorite speakers were Rev. Charles McKenzie of the Rainbow Push Coalition in Florida and Soraya Chemaly of the Huffington Post, fem2pt0, Btchflcks, and more. They were both eloquent and impassioned speakers who, in my opinion, out shone the other speakers, in their ability and skill and the resonance of what they were saying. Both spoke about current political and social issues, discussed individual acts, and connected them to the larger mentality and methods of the Kyriarchy. Soraya Chemaly spoke about internalized misogyny and how the social and political issues are related to that and society's failure to see women as fully human. This tied very nicely into discussion about the ERA which was the focus of most of the speakers. (along with plenty of disparaging comments about Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan).
As a reminder the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) which would result in Constitutional recognition of women's humanity and personhood, has never passed.
However, I have to admit to a sense of disappointment with the We Are Woman Rally. Maybe it was the heat, or the length of the rally (10:30-4:00), but it just wasn't as good as other ones. The speakers became repetitive after a while, and while they were all knowledgeable and "accredited feminists" many of them just weren't stirring speakers. Most disappointing was the diversity of the speakers. The vast majority were late middle aged white women. Few of them self disclosed as queer or from the "lower" class. It was too homogeneous to feel representative of all US women. And if I noticed this I can only imagine how alienating it might have felt to women of color, or those who've grown up without class privilege.
I can't help but compare it to last week's #sheparty which was led by Flyover Feminism and about the diversity within the feminist movement. To go from a discussion about needing better representation and the feminists in power, the privileged feminists, needing to be the ones to open their conferences, to reach out and gain the trust of our less privileged sisters, to a rally full of "official" feminists, dominated by white women. Well, it was upsetting, and it made me angry. We're supposed to be getting better in truth, not just paying lip service to diversity and intersectionality.