Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Marching through time: Women combat being silenced, again


Not long ago, someone I was dating at the time was making dinner for the two of us. When I asked him if there was anything I can do to help, he said no, that I could “just sit there and look pretty.”

“That’s boring,” I replied.

I was not raised to “sit there and look pretty.” I was raised in a household where being intelligent was cool and being curious about the world made you well rounded, grateful and humane. I was raised in a household that taught me there was so much more to life than abiding societal expectations.

As I got older, there were times when being a woman felt like I was drowning. Societal pressures became hard to ignore. Within seconds of meeting someone, you feel like they have already formed an opinion of you. When you’re a woman, it’s easy to lose yourself.

During the Women’s March in Boston, I found myself again. Camaraderie and solidarity was in the air in downtown Boston, you could feel it.

Everyone had their own personal reasons for attending the Women’s March. I thought about my close female friends and peers, my female co-workers, my friends who are considered minorities, my LGBTQ friends, but during the march I thought the most about the woman marching beside me, my mom.

As I get older, I notice that our mothers tend to have a negative stigma toward them. Things such as “I’m turning into my mother,” seems to be a popular phrase among women in their 20s. I admit I am guilty of saying it, but the March made me realize that I would be proud to be like my mother.

Watching her take in the day on Saturday was like watching a kid in a candy store. She loved the posters and got especially excited when we walked by a group of women dressed liked suffragettes posing for a picture.

“Is that gonna be you one day after you retire, are you gonna be one of those people who dress like suffragettes and guides tours?” I asked her.

“Yeah, probably,” she laughed.

While I loved seeing my mom so excited about the march, at the same time it was incredibly heartbreaking. It was sad to realize that someone 30 years older than me was protesting for rights we should already have.

I am fairly new to feminism and only started educating myself about it since it’s resurgence a few years ago, when I realized the dress code I was subject to in high school was incredibly sexist. Through educating myself it did not take long for me to realize that being a proactive feminist is both frustrating and exhausting.

There are a lot of misconceptions about feminism and what it means to be a feminist. From observing my mom, I learned the first step in being a feminist is being compassionate. I was always taught the importance caring for others, because there’s always someone who has it worse. I recognize my privilege; I am white, cis-gender, able-bodied, and middle class. I am not a perfect feminist by any means, however I understand that while some of the changes in Washington D.C. may not affect me directly, I have a responsibility to use my privilege to educate myself and to rally behind those who will be affected. I am fighting, and will continue to fight, to give them a voice.

The key to feminism is to not give in to the opposition. There is a post going around on social media called “This Woman does NOT Support the Women’s March.” Out of curiosity I thought I would entertain this backward way of thinking. I read three sentences before I was ready to ignite a Facebook fight.

When I told my mom about it she said “It’s better to be proactive and ignore the ones who can’t be moved.”

It’s easy to start an argument with someone while staring at a screen, and sometimes it’s a little bit of a thrill, however, it does nothing.

I am inspired by not only my mother’s optimism in this movement, but that of all the men and women of older generations who showed up on Saturday. These people have endured much more criticism than I have and continue to contribute to the cause with their heads held high.

There is a Zen Proverb that goes something like this; the student says “I’m feeling very discouraged, what should I do?” The master says, “Encourage others.” Since I first came across this a few years ago, it has stuck with me. When people say negative things about the Women’s March, it’s important to remember while they were sitting at home and bragging about being anti-feminist on Facebook, three million people came together and demanded change.

The intergenerational aspect of the march was the most moving for me. My mother expressed to me that there is an intense universal feeling of wanting a better future for their children. They need their children to keep it going in their footsteps. I hope the young women who attended the march feel this duty as much as I do.

I have high hopes that this movement will extend the dialogue beyond Facebook comments. Until Saturday I had never felt prouder and more empowered to be a woman. I would even go as far to say it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced. But this movement goes beyond holding up signs and wearing pink knit hats. I hope it will inspire us all to donate, volunteer, and support candidates who represent what we believe. This movement will be the catalyst for a better and brighter future for everyone as long as we continue to support it.

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About the Contributor
Katie Dugan, Assistant Opinion Editor
Born in Manchester, New Hampshire, Katie Dugan is a recent graduate of 2017 who majored in public relations. She lists among her many non-academic accomplishments successfully raising her pet, a beta fish named Moses and greeting the nations first sunrise on two occasions on top of Cadillac mountain in Maine's Acadia national park. She enjoys running, especially when the race is over and while she lives to explore her adopted city of Boston, just don't ask her for directions to where anything is. Finally, Katie loves the written word and working for The Suffolk Journal and sees the upcoming administration in Washington DC as an unlimited supply of future content for her columns.

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Marching through time: Women combat being silenced, again