New York Women March: Conscience and Confusion


Written by: Dirk Scheepers

On the morning of Saturday, 21 January, on the hunt for a cup of good coffee, I accidentally stumbled into the #WomensMarch. It was some affair, let me tell you. As far as the eye could see there were pink cat ears perched precariously on the crowns of countless members of the fairer sex. They were joined by a handful of men, and together they marched angrily up 5th Avenue.

I was going to ask why they were marching, but most of them had their modus operandi clearly etched on the posters they held aloft. As you might have guessed by now, Donald Trump was the target of most of the scorn on the banal banners and they certainly didn’t lack in creativity. I resigned myself to just watching the spectacle and reading the signs, so to speak. Those marchers who couldn’t channel the spirit of Shakespeare stuck with a simple “F… Trump!” despite many small children in the offing. There were also many not-so-subtle references to Trump’s attempts at seizing women by the genitalia. A general feeling of solidarity reigned supreme and the unyielding rebelliousness was quite infectious. Democracy at its finest, on full display.

But then I saw something that didn’t quite make sense. The one poster was against misogyny, so I nodded my tacit approval, but the one right next to it chided all Trump-supporters in considerably harsh terms. I am pretty sure Donald Trump wouldn’t have won the election if zero women voted for him. So, in effect, the second poster was aggressively against millions of female voters? I wanted to ask this question to some of the marchers, but something told me to rethink that move. Although there were plenty of “love Trumps hate” posters around, I got the feeling that any person who asked the wrong question of this mob would not have gotten a lot of affection. Perhaps the poster should have read “love Trumps hate, but only if you agree with me.”

I continued my surveillance of the emblazoned verbiage and for some reason remembered a video I saw about FGM – female genital mutilation – on YouTube. It was awful. I also recalled a recent New York Times article about child brides. I tried to drive these memories from my mind, but as is the case sometimes, once you remember one bad thing, you recall another. I remembered the HBO documentary I had seen about ‘honor killings’ in Pakistan. Then I became worked up like the crowd around me. Against those barbaric trashing of women’s rights, I would join this march. So I scanned the crowd for one, just one, poster that addressed these issues.

But, alas, I found none.

Perhaps my moral compass is not calibrated to true North. Perhaps Donald Trump’s small hands groping at a woman’s vagina is the biggest threat to women’s rights. I don’t know. All I knew that Saturday morning, was that I had completely forgotten about my coffee.

Author: Dirk is the host of the DS Program podcast. During the day he splits his time between being the director of a financial company on Wall Street and pondering the mysteries of the Universe. He immigrated to the United States in 2006.