It Is Not the Pink Pussy Hats. It is the Sexism.

On January 20, 2017 millions of people (mostly women) marched in protest.  There were hundreds of peaceful, organized marches across the globe.  By the numbers, it was the largest day of protest ever.  EVER!  Bigger than civil rights marches, bigger than anti-war marches, bigger than anything that came before.  By January 22, the media had moved on.

On January 20, 2018 millions of people (mostly women) marched in protest.  There were hundreds of peaceful, organized marches.  By the numbers, it was one of the largest days of protest ever – only surpassed by the one exactly 365 days prior.  Still bigger than the civil rights marches, still bigger than anti-war marches, still bigger than anything 366+ days before.  By January 22, the media had moved on.

We know almost nothing about what these millions upon millions of women really want.  To say they only marched to protest a sexual predator in the white house sets the bar far too low.  Do you honestly believe that all women want from their government, from their country, is to merely not be assaulted?

  • They weren’t interviewed about their economic needs. How do they feel about the tax cuts?  What would they have done differently?
  • How many of the women are for single-payer healthcare?
  • Do they believe DACA recipients should have a path to citizenship, only be allowed to remain in the country or be deported?
  • Where are the focus groups asking these women about infrastructure?

About 8 years earlier, thousands of people (mostly older white men) marched in protest.  There were dozens of mostly peaceful, organized marches in a few cities – mostly centered on Washington DC.  By the numbers, it was smaller than both the civil rights and anti-war marches.  The media covered it for months and months.  There were almost daily focus groups trying to dissect the Tea Partiers.  Congressmen and the President were asked to weigh in on the Tea Party.  Polls were taken to understand the impact of these protesters on the government’s agenda.  They protested over several weeks and on the days when a march was held (even a march of about 50 people), the 24-hour news cycle was full of it (all puns intended).

  • The right to own any and all guns needs to be protected.
  • The government is mortgaging our future by saving the auto-industry, bailing out banks and providing stimulus dollars.
  • The government should stay away from their Medicare (that is not a typo).
  • The country was better off before we had all these immigrants.

There was such focus on these protesters that far-right conservatives became known as “Tea Party Republicans”.  These politicians ran on the “Tea Party Platform”.  The media attention turned these protesters into a political movement.

The difference in level of attention is staggering.  The blatant sexism is staggering.  Millions of women marched just a few days ago, but I’ll bet in the next day or so I’ll see a focus group of older white male Trump voters.  No, don’t tell me the women blew their chance by wearing Pink Pussy Hats; the Tea Partiers dressed in 18th century garb and had guns strapped to their legs.  Wardrobe is not the issue.  We pay attention to the angry white guys because the country is run by angry white guys.  Our government, large and small corporations, media conglomerates – dominated by angry white guys.  Still don’t believe me?  On January 20th, the day of the march, a local news station interviewed a few people on how they felt about the march – Older white guys sitting in a bar.

Yes, there are much larger, structural changes needed to achieve equality.  For now, continue to beat up your local and national news stations to have more women’s opinions represented.  I’m not referring to punditry, where both men and women spit out pre-determined talking points.  I’m referring to actual women, providing their actual opinions on a wide range of issues.

As a middle aged white guy myself, I’m not thrilled about how my genetic peers are acting these days.  We’re driving the nation in a very bass-ackwards direction.  Time to give more focus, weight and credence to what women think.

Contributing Editor: Tim Chauncey

Tim Chauncey is a husband and father trying to raise the level of discourse. Follow him on Twitter @Tim_Chauncey.

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