Mothers, Teach Your Daughters They Are Not Defined By Their Vagina

In all the clamor surrounding the Women’s March on Washington in protest of the Trump Administrations increasingly oppressive stance on women’s rights, a few notable issues have risen from the events that left quite a few of us shocked, if not altogether disheartened: That is the exclusion of Transwomen from the overall core mission.

While one would expect that the Women’s march would include ALL women who are effected by the radical conservative regime, that’s simply not the case. In fact, we’ve witnessed an alarming demonstration of divisive behavior from women, adorned in pink “Pussy hats” carrying statement placards that- rather than assert their rights to their own body and choices regarding it- instead attack Transwomen. One would presume a March against a hostile government that seeks to limit the access women have to equal pay, adequate healthcare and a voice in the dialog concerning their own bodies would be a unified effort, not an opportunity to target others who are threatened by this common enemy, alas, that is the how the Women’s March played out.

I’m going to be frank with my opinion here, both as a Transwoman, a feminist and an activist for Women’s rights. The whole “Pussy Hat” brigade is a tremendously misguided mission to brand a cause. Why? Because it contradicts everything Women have been fighting against for centuries… being wholly summarized, completely characterized and their potential systematically limited by the fact they have a vagina. In this effort to mobilize and storm the proverbial castle in their pink hats, with some attendees dressed as actual vagina’s and other with vaginas painted crudely on T-Shirts, they’re not reinforcing the fact that they’re human beings who deserve equal access, equal pay and sovereignty over their own bodies, but instead, they’re a band of genitals pleading for acknowledgment by a tone deaf government who sees them- and judges them- as exactly just that- a Vagina; A womb in which government wishes to make laws to control. It’s reduced the entire march and most of it’s participants to an extremist exhibition of sex organs rather than a vulnerable people whose rights are under fire

It’s been a long running problem when dealing with a male dominated society and a government occupied by old, white, CISgender career politicians who’ve held seats for decades. Remember, some of these men have been there long enough that their voting record goes back to voting AGAINST the integration of white and black Americans. Like most men, they classify women by their genitalia which they presume renders them stupid, incapable of rational thought, impulsive thanks to those pesky monthly periods. They think women are unreliable when it comes to performing as effectively in society when compared to their male counterparts. Men fetishize women by their breast size, their body mass and even impose this unrealistic expectation that they remain young and supple for their pleasure. It’s created a culture of teenage girls with eating disorders, middle aged women with tight faced filled with botox, and butts and boobs enlarged to seek the approval of the male demographic…

Yet the women at this March insist they don’t want to be seen as objects or lesser by comparison to the males who perceive them as mere playthings.

But, there they are, marching with underwear on the outside of their clothing with vaginas drawn on them and the infamous pink “Pussy Hats” covering their head to remind onlookers that they are women. Perhaps it’s an unpopular opinion, but I find it deeply disturbing that some of these women believe that in order to justify their existence and access to equality, they must portray themselves as walking, talking, marching vaginas.

Further troubling is how divisive it is to believe that a vagina is fully representative of a woman, thus the reason she should have the same opportunities as Men have. There are women who don’t have Vaginas. Transwomen. There are women who don’t menstruate. Older women. There are women with ambiguous genitalia. Intersex women. There are women who have had cervical cancer or genital disfigurements due to accident or the tragic effects of cultural differences wherein some countries encourage female genital mutilation. The effort to put on a big pussy parade to celebrate women isn’t celebrating all women, nor is it on behalf of all women. It is an elitist convention of women whose vaginas fit into the concepts of acceptability of the men whose validation they seek. Literally. That’s all it was. For a March that deemed itself a movement intended to empower women, all they achieved was creating division within their ranks and embarrass themselves in the process by reminding men; “Hey, we’re all just vaginas… we don’t have names, we don’t have daughters, mothers, sisters, wives; we have vaginas. Unless you have a working vagina, you don’t belong here.”

I wanted more from this march. Instead, it fetched disgusting, anti-trans headlines like this. Because Transwomen attended, they were actually made targets for the conservative media. Once again, dehumanized, shamed, accused of being men pretending to be women. That was the Transgender woman’s reward for supporting her sisters.

I expected more from those who crossed the country to attend this march and demonstrate the power of unified women- all women- in America who were speaking in chorus to an oppressive regime whose actions have made them vulnerable. That didn’t happen. All we saw were a bunch of women who defined their womanhood by their body parts alone and passively excluded those women who didn’t share the same body design.

Perhaps, sometime in the future, Mothers can teach their children that to demand respect as a woman, they needn’t dress as a Vagina or carry a sign depicting a bleeding uterus. Instead they might teach them that they are human; they are valid, and they deserve every bit of respect and access to every opportunity a man has- not because of their vagina, but because of their refusal to accept anything less- just as Susan B. Anthony did, just as Rosa Parks did, just as Eleanor Roosevelt did… and they didn’t have to put depictions of their privates on display to change the world for future generations of girls who would become women that would carry that torch into the future. Let us not reduce womanhood or feminism to the basic idea that a vagina equals the totality of our viability in society, or potential to achieve great things. Put the pussy hats away.

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright