Beyond the Women’s March

As a white, American female, the sight and sound of Trump sickens me. I am proud of my fellow citizens who are out there fighting for equality and speaking out against hatred. I have much respect for those getting involved in the political process and participating through freedom of speech and protesting.

At the same time, something about this Women’s March hasn’t been sitting right with me. The more I’ve thought of it, the more I’ve realized something about it and myself. This march is born of American/Western privilege, convenience, and ignorance.

I think, we are missing the point. The rally misses the point. I’ve missed the point. And, we Americans [Westerners] have missed the point. Hear me out.

When is enough enough? When are women, minorities, and victims of persecution in need of a march or in need of people around the world to put pressure on government officials? When do the rights of women and minorities need defending? When has the line been crossed enough for us to do something on this scale? When should we cry out against injustice the loudest?

Is it:

I could go on and on, but only one of these violations was enough to get the Western world, the Western women, to rally together. The march claims that it’s “not about Trump,” but why only now is there a global women’s march while all the other tragedies above have played out, ignored for years by those of us in the West? And why isn’t any of this being mentioned and discussed today? Despite the website’s claim that, “this isn’t about Trump per se,” the inception of this rally didn’t occur until after the 2016 election results came in.

This march is not about the marginalized, the oppressed, the abused, or the hurting.

It is about privilege. It is about Western. It is about white. It is about Trump.

Maybe it’s the words in Brené Brown’s book, Rising Strong, that have been bouncing around in my head as I’ve fought with the realization of my unearned privilege.

“I can choose to be bothered when it suits me. I don’t have to live this every day.”

When Western women and their ideals felt threatened by the election of Trump, they rallied together around the world. Not in response to the millions and millions of victims who are suffering worldwide, but because some of the most privileged women and minorities in the world fear what Trump represents.

Yet, there are suffering women, suffering men, suffering children all around the world, and their fear is not fear of a “could be,” but what has been, what is, and what will be tomorrow. To them, there is no escape. There is no hope. Why are these people not even being mentioned, and why don’t they matter?

We, the privileged West, have the luxury of choosing to acknowledge these heinous crimes, the freedom to make our own choices, the right to vote, and the option of rallying together to protest against Trump and his sexism and fascism, but even this is an American/Western definition.

Where is the global rally to fight for those who wake up every day fighting for their lives? Why don’t they matter? Why is their suffering not real?

Women and minorities in the US suffer everyday, yes, and I don’t mean to minimize that suffering, but at the same time, we are one of the most privileged groups of people, one of the most privileged groups of women, and one of the most privileged groups of minorities in the world. It feels like the end of the world to have a man of Trump’s caliber and character in the presidential office, but at the end of the day, few things are going to change for us in the US, and our privileges are not going to be taken away. Instead, we have the option, the luxury, of choosing to fear “what could be.”

But, after a year, or probably less, this fight will be archived and people will be at home, going about their business. Likewise, the people who are living in a place of true injustice will continue being forgotten as they continue living in anguish, fear, and isolation in a very vivid present, never given voices, never given the chance to proclaim their suffering.

If we truly wanted to change this world, to protect women and the marginalized, why aren’t we using a day like today, with rallies and protests across every continent, to give a voice to the voiceless, the oppressed, and those who cannot defend themselves? What laws could we inspire? What countries would feel pressure? What would leaders and politicians start changing?

Eating in Arles

post2pWe had eaten a light lunch of gazpacho (for me) and sandwiches (for Jesse) at a small café earlier in the day, but found ourselves quite hungry now and thought it was late enough for dinner (it was about 6pm). We looked through our guide book and picked out one of the recommended places that looked good and headed off. Sadly, we found that it was closed, so we picked out another option from the book and trekked on. Again, we discovered the second post2roption was closed. Somewhat disheartened, we picked out a third and continued on, only discover, yet again, that it too was closed. Feeling upset, hungry, and emotional, we headed back towards the Arena to see what food was available. We spotted a small creperie by the Arena that was open and decided we’d just eat there. We just wanted to eat SOMETHING. Still not quite certain of restaurant customs in France, we awkwardly went inside and asked the employee if we could have a table for two. He responded, “that isn’t a problem,” in a somewhat irritated tone.

post3cSlightly humbled, we walked back out to the patio seating area and found a table. A few minutes later, a server came and brought us a menu to look through. When she came back, we were mostly ready to order and asked for two savory dishes – a pasta and a crepe. She gave us somewhat amused smile and the pointed to a blurb across the top of a menu page and then gestured towards a list. Confused, I tried again, only for the girl, with a slightly condescending expression this time, repeating the same action and then state that only these select items were available until dinner started. I was still confused and asked when dinner started so we could order the other post3jones, and point again to the menu, where in small print it was noted that dinner started at 19:00. It was about 18:15 at the moment. Feeling immensely small (and still hungry), we decided to leave until  dinner and come back later. We felt incredibly awkward and intimidated by the whole situation (the first humbling experience of the trip) and needed to escape to center ourselves. As we walked away, we wondered if this is how Americans with no cultural awareness feel while in Paris – a sense of stupidity and shame that make s you want to hide. I did not like it, but I was glad to have the experience. It is good to be reminded that I am an outsider with much to learn and it’s always nice to have a post3adifferent perspective. The entire situation could’ve been avoided too if I had read more carefully, so in this case it was definitely a case of stupid tourists, though for being a tourist destination, I was a little surprised at the response of the staff.  Everyone else we’d met on the trip had been incredibly helpful.

After making it back to the safety of the hotel room, we flipped through the guidebook again, this time with a new understanding that the restaurants weren’t closed for the day, post3bbut most likely closed until dinner hours of 19:00. We found few on on street that looked good, so at about 18:55, we headed out to go check them out and make our selection based on menu and atmosphere. We ended up opting for the one that looked a little less fancy, Restaurant Le Plaza, and since we were one of the first people there, we were able to get one of the few remaining unreserved tables outside.

Umm, let me just say that I am so glad that we didn’t eat at the crepe restaurant. The food here was amazing! I think it was my favorite meal of the entire trip. Everything was divine and post3emelted in my mouth. We order a menú again, wanting to get the full French cuisine experience. My appetizer was grilled peppers marinated in olive oil with sliced ham and Jesse got a eggplant caviar with Brousse cheese (a soft sheep’s cheese), and a tomato coulis. YUM. Mine was scrumptious, but Jesse’s was definitely the favorite. It tasted like the most perfect noodleless lasagna dish I’d ever tasted. The flavors melded together perfectly and I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s on my list of things to try to recreate once I can find the cheese.

post3dFor our main courses, I got a seared salmon with an amazing leek sauce and Jesse get a traditional bull-steak stew with red camargue rice, a rice that grows in the nearby wetlands of Arles and Provence.

Dinner was, not surprisingly, crème brûlée, the preferred choice over the dark chocolate dessert with a red fruit sauce.

post3hI absolutely love the French dining experience. i really enjoy the the waiters are attentive and helpful but don’t bother you or ask you unnecessary questions or try to make small talk. They do their jobs and that’s it. I feel they also pay more attention to you. We emptied the water carafe at the table, and immediately a server swooped in and whisked it away and before promptly replacing it with a new post3gone. I liked that I could just focus on my company while eating rather than the waiter, whether it be trying to get his/her attention or being interrupted by unnecessary talk.  I think it might have something to do with the fact that the tip is included in the menu post3fprice (and tax!), so they aren’t trying to suck up for a tip. It is definitely pleasant concept, and ideal to me.

Feeling full and happy, we headed back to the hotel, making a pit stop at the cafe we at at for lunch so I could momentarily steal the wifi and listen to the musicians playing beside the beautifully lit arena.

Whole 30 – day 27

Breakfast: Eggs for Jesse. Nothing for me.

Lunch: Thai Coconut Curry soup [onions, garlic, chicken, coconut oil, zucchini, squash, bell pepper, cilantro, spinach, avocado, green curry paste, a little bit of panang curry paste, 2 cans of coconut milk].

soupcurrySnacks: A few nuts.

Dinner: Bunless burgers [lettuce, tomato, beef patties, cajun seasoning, sauteed onions, and avocado] with roasted potatoes and parsnips. No mayonnaise this time.

**update** Jesse informed me that he cheated AGAIN today. He went to hang out with the same friend from yesterday and got peer pressured into eating some silk pie.

Whole 30 – day 26

Breakfast: Eggs for Jesse, nothing for me.

Lunch: Leftover salad from yesterday, but with balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil dressing this time.

Snacks: A few nuts, and a banana, hardboiled egg, and nuts for Jesse.

Dinner: We cheated. YES. I confess, but without much shame. We had a friend visiting from Dallas, so we drove to the city he was staying at and ate out. I didn’t take pictures, but we definitely cheated. Mostly just with the wheat though. One of our dishes may have had a little bit of dairy, but it was marginal. Another had quinoa, but the biggest thing was the wheat we had… so this is more like a “Whole 25,” but we are still finishing up the rest of it. 🙂 I did wake up with brain fog the next day.

Whole 30 – day 25

Breakfast: Same as always; eggs for Jesse, nothing for me.

Lunch: Salad with leftover chicken [prosciutto, lettuce, spinach, onion, tomato, bell pepper, avocado, mayonnaise]

salad

Snacks: Nuts for me, eggs, banana, and nuts for Jesse.

Dinner: Crispy Italian Chick Drumsticks with roasted turnips and potatoes, steamed broccoli, and mayonnaise.

chickenveggies

Whole 30 – day 23

Breakfast: Eggs for Jesse, nothing for me.

Lunch: “BLT” salad from yesterday

Snacks: Nuts. Hardboiled eggs and a banana for Jesse.

Dinner: Vegetable Lamb Soup [onions, garlic, coconut oil, lamb, turnip, parsnip, carrot, yellow squash, zucchini, celery, spinach, salt, pepper, rosemary, sage, oregano, canned diced tomatoes]

soupI’m skipping the “how we felt” because I honestly don’t remember. 🙂