by Sunsara Taylor
On Saturday, March 10th a new energy, a new defiance, and a new commitment to fight for the full liberation of women, were felt on the streets of New York City. Beginning at noon in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, proceeding on a tour of many sites which concentrate the oppression of women, and concluding in front of a strip club and porn store near Times Square; people of all ages, many nationalities, and all genders condemned the enslavement and degradation of women.
In Times Square
As people gathered in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, beneath its towering spires and enormous brass doors designed to make humans feel small and humble, their faces were filled with both exuberance, but also hesitation. It is not typical to confront churches. In fact, it’s not typical these days to directly confront woman-haters of any kind. It is all too typical for people to complain in hushed voices or to send money and sign petitions to politicians in the hopes that maybe someone else will do something. So, it is understandable that this felt new to many people.
As people picked up signs and decked themselves out in stickers, I was reminded of something told to me by a self-defense instructor years ago. She made a point of taking the time to insist that all her female students learn to yell forcefully. She did this because women are so deeply socialized to be polite, demure, docile, quiet and agreeable that they have to learn to trust their anger when they are under attack.
“I Demand my Reproductive Rights!! I’m a Human Being!!
I shared this story with the crowd and added, “Today, women around the world are under attack and we ought to be angry about that. We ought to be loud about that. We ought not to be the ones telling our stories in whispers and through tears while woman haters scream ‘slut’ at the tops of their lungs. Today, we are going to get in touch with our anger. We are going to yell at the tops of our lungs. If it feels funny at first, that’s okay, keep at it. After a while it will stop feeling funny and will start to feel really fucking good. And then, it will be contagious. That is the point of today. We are taking it upon ourselves to defeat the war on women. We are changing ourselves in the process. And we are launching a new movement that wakes up and draws in others wave after wave until we win.”