Like many of you, I spent yesterday feeling utterly awful. And today absolutely glued to Twitter, seeing incredible, fantastic, uplifting pictures of Women’s Marches around the world.*
Protests not just in Washington, not just in the US, but in Melbourne, Sydney, Kolkata, Berlin, Paris, Geneva, London, Lilongwe, Nairobi, Toronto – you know what, why don’t you just look at the map. (Yes, there was even a demonstration in Antarctica.)
This is officially the biggest presidential protest in US history. Doesn’t it look rather like the biggest one-day global protest on anything ever? Marchers shut down the centres of DC and Chicago. (And yes, Donald, everybody’s noticed how many more people were out today than came to see you yesterday.)
There’s been a lot of advance criticism of the event, including from feminists, especially women of colour. And I get it. I do. White feminism has a lot to answer for, and stepping out wearing a pink hat maybe doesn’t look like the most immediately constructive way to get shit sorted out. Clearly, the march is not enough. At best it is the start of something. At worst, an empty gesture that could fizzle out into nothing.
But wow. Wow.
Solidarity matters. Seeing, collectively, millions of women around the world coming together to say FUCK THIS NOISE – that is an exhilarating, astonishing, uplifting, empowering thing. And it matters that the marchers identified themselves with pink knitted hats. It matters, not only because knitting is such a “feminine” craft and I love seeing femininity harnessed as a tool of resistance, but because knitting is such a perfect example of how tiny acts repeated over and over can become something amazing.
Thousands of insignificant stitches together can make a weather-defying sweater, an heirloom shawl.
Millions of women make an army.
* I wanted to share them with you but I realised that would be completely uncool, since I don’t know the copyright owners and can’t credit them. Just do yourself a favour and check out the #WomensMarch hashtag. Glorious signage and massive crowds.