Named as the biggest protest in US history an estimated 2.9 million marched for women’s rights, immigration reform, and LGBTQ rights at the Women’s March Washington; with the UK, Canada and France having the biggest turn out of marchers and protesters in solidarity to this.
In London there was an overwhelming amount of love and respect in the air. Women, Men and children all gathered to show their support for equality and the turnout was outstanding. To see so many groups of friends, individuals and families of all ages take time out of their lives to stand up and march for something so important was heart-warming, and this is a day all those marching will keep close to their hearts.
Teaching our children from a young age about their rights, equality and respect is vital if we ever want to find peace in the world. Bright colours, strong words, and determined expressions filled the streets of a city well and truly fed up of oppression from people in power who have no idea or concern with what the people want and need. With many of the signs aimed at Trump it’s clear that this vile, inhumane being has forced the world into more action. When we stand together we are stronger and anything is possible.
We caught up with the awesome Kate Crudgington from Gigslutz who also made it down to the march to hear about her take on the day.
What urged you to get down to the march?
My friend Katie reached out to me a few days before Donald Trump’s inauguration asking if I wanted to go with her to the march. I had plans later in the day (Gigslutz were having an Editorial meeting), but I knew I’d regret not taking the opportunity to peacefully protest against a man who has already made the lives of U.S women incredibly difficult.
Donald Trump and his terrible haircut need to be challenged, and after I watched his inauguration I had no doubt in my mind that marching in London on his first day in office was the right thing to do.
How important do you think these kinds of protests are?
I’ve never been involved in a protest before, and I think I’ve completely underestimated how important they are. I’ve been pretty vocal about feminism for the last four years online and in real life (I write for a feminist blog called Belle Jar, I went to a Parliament discussion about the representation of women in the media, and Gigslutz has a strong feminist ethic) but I hadn’t physically protested in support of anything.
I read that the turnout for the Washington DC march completely trumped the turnout for the President’s inauguration (sorry for the terrible pun), and I think that highlights how important it is to make a stand with other women if you want to be heard. I will definitely be attending more protests in future.
Some people view Feminism as man-hating. It was very important to reiterate to people that everyone is welcome and should be a part of it. Do you think the march has helped more people to understand Feminism?
I actually cherish having to explain to people that Feminism is the opposite of man-hating! It’s so nice watching people’s reactions change when you explain that Feminism is for everyone, and we all need to embrace it to live a better life.
I hope the march has helped people to see that, but I imagine there are still a lot of people looking at those placards and dismissing our collective anger and disappointment as simplistic man-hating.
How would you personally describe Feminism and how important is it to you?
It’s hugely important to me. I started to realise I was a feminist when I was eighteen and it really was a bit of a life-changing moment. It was incredibly reassuring to learn that I have the fundamental right to say ‘no’ to any of the patriarchal bullshit I encounter.
Whether it’s as weird and uncomfortable as a guy touching me without my consent in a night club, or the general ‘mansplaining’ most women and girls encounter on a daily basis; you have the power to challenge it and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about doing so. It’s absolutely exhausting, but it’s worth it because it encourages other girls to speak out too.
Feminism means different things to different people, but to me it’s the desire to see women treated as equals on a global scale. It’s genuinely that simple.
A lot of the signs and chants were directed at Trump. Although him coming into power has been a heart-breaking blow for the world, do you think this is what it needed to spur people on to shout a bit louder, fight harder and stand up for what they believe in?
I think women in the U.S have been actively challenging Trump for a while, but this global march has been so successful I think it’s reminded people that it’s easy to get complacent and assume other women don’t need your help. I’ve definitely been complacent about it before.
What was your favourite sign and who was holding it?
There were a few crackers, but the one that made me laugh the most was held by a little boy. He was only 7 or 8 years old, and the sign read: “First Dobby dies, now this…” – I felt his pain.
Another placard quoted Pussy Riot’s ‘Straight Outta Vagina’ which also made me smirk with feminist glee.
What did you take away the from the march?
The march was a reminder for me that being angry and disappointed won’t change anything unless you channel that energy in to something constructive. That could mean organising a huge protest on the streets of London, or it could mean using your everyday conversations to spread the message that whatever happens, we will support each other through what is no doubt going to be a really shit time.
Also, bring a hipflask and snacks to your next march.
I feel ya, girl.
Photos by Kelly Chard
Words by Kelly Chard and Kate Crudgington