Recently, someone close to me asked, “What’s the point of marching for a cause?” This person was a man, and I immediately became defensive- claws out, ready for a beat down. I imagined this person being slowly trampled at a women’s march. The really sick part of this is that I’m totally smiling right now as I revisit this thought. Down with the patriarchy. Temporarily distracted by my thoughts of brutality, I queued back into the conversation. My friend had more to say, “It doesn’t change anything. Nothing really comes of it.”
Oh boy, was I ready for this. I mean that literally. Oh, boy. Was I ready for you! I pulled out my thumb drive and fired-up my PowerPoint presentation. You are about to get it, sir. What was the title of my generically designed, one-slide-fits-all slideshow? “I Vehemently Disagree with You- You Stupid, Stupid Man.” After a brief introduction regarding my title, I listed the reasons why a march is so important. They included, but were not limited to:
- Builds a community,
- Fosters an environment of discussion,
- Brings attention to a real issue and
I paused on my fourth prong. I couldn’t think of the appropriate verb to complete my thought. Then, I realized that my friend is correct. With so many important issues in our society, we talk a good talk, but we don’t follow through with action verbs. Look at the lousy verbs I used. “Bring attention” and “foster” are pathetic. When is the last time we actually did something about our problems? Not talked. Not theorized. Actually did something. If I had listed my own action verbs, I would have been embarrassed.
Sadly, Tyler Moore passed away this week, and I felt an initial gloom without appreciating the force of her resolve. Watching old interviews about her life was quite telling of how much progress we have made. One outlet reported that CBS did not have women’s bathrooms for female staff writers on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” A separate piece highlighted the ways in which the actress’s fictional roles inspired nonfictional women in their very real, very difficult workplace scenarios. A national news anchor explained how Moore’s fictional role paralleled her own career. She made less than her male counterparts, and to add insult to injury, her boss told her that he only hired her because there weren’t any men who would do the job for such little pay.
Why are women upset today even though these anecdotes are from an older time? The problem is that these stories aren’t really that old. They aren’t so outdated that we can’t see their relevance today. I’m sure sources vary, but in 2015, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported the pay differential for men and women was 20%. It is a relevant, timely matter. Without trailblazers like Ms. Moore, I’m sure the gap would be even more substantial.
Now, it is our turn to be trailblazers. The men and women of our generation are caring, and I know we can continue to move our society forward. Marches and other political gatherings are important and have their place in our world, but until we insert action verbs into our mindset, nothing will change. Until we, the people, send a message with our ballot, nothing will change. So, if you are discouraged by the way the world around you looks, please do something about it. Initiate change with your vote. Let your volunteer work be a catalyst for goodwill. Find a way to donate to the organizations that fight the good fight on a daily basis. The Women’s March was a great place to start. But it is only a start. It is time to figuratively march forward. Who can do this? “You girl, and you should know it.” (I know it is cheesy. I don’t care. I stand by my decision to let this one ride).