OU Students attend Women’s Marches all over Midwest and DC

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Lifestyle Staff Writer| Ben Vizy| bv531614@ohio.edu

On January 21, 2017, the newly inaugurated President Trump’s first full day in office, millions of women took to the streets all over the country in protest against the man they feel will put their rights in danger. Over 500 cities hosted marches, including at least seven major cities in Ohio. Among this crowd were women of all walks of life, including — quite often — college students.

These college students, which included many from Ohio University, attended these events for a variety of reasons. Most often, however, they went with the intention of showing the other restless attendants that they weren’t alone in their dissatisfaction. The overwhelming turnout gave a good visual estimate of the number of women who wanted a change.

Photo by Shanti Epp, who attended the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

“It felt like, even though I was only one person in almost a million, I was still somehow making a difference,” said Mary Ribar, a senior Civil Engineering Student at Cleveland State University.

For some women, however, the reason was even more personal. Freshman History student Diana Soto says Trump’s election affected her personally as a Mexican American woman, and she felt “he had said such nasty things about both women and Mexicans.” Before the results came in, she didn’t feel as if he had much of a chance of winning.

“I felt that Trump’s blatant bigotry and hateful comments would restrain him from being elected into office, but I was really wrong about that,” Soto said. Until attending the march in Cincinnati, she had felt alone in her opinion, but seeing the huge turnout at the rally helped to reinvigorate her hopes for humanity.

Though the marches were generally viewed positively, they weren’t without criticism from attendees. Junior Sabrina Hill mentioned that marchers sometimes got restless and would yell over the speakers. She also took issue with the “pussy hats,” a popular accessory in D.C. that day. Her argument was that “womanhood is not exactly vagina-centric.” Hill believes that these hats alienated those who may identify as a woman without the commonly associated anatomy.

Photo by Shanti Epp of the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

Ribar, who also attended the march in D.C., offered an alternate view on the hats. She thought their popularity was more in reference to Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comments and his stance on reproductive laws, which by nature involve vaginas. Ribar said that although the marches did not focus primarily on LGBTQIA+ issues, multiple speakers did not identify as heterosexual or cisgender.

Even with the focus on womanhood, there were men in attendance as well. One music education student, Rhys Ivan, attended the march in Chicago. He said that he was initially worried that he may feel out of place, but that feeling faded when he got there. He realized they “were all there for the same reason.”

All in all, the marches were generally viewed as a success. The events were huge, with so many attendees that the L-Train in Chicago was packed to the brim with chanting protestors. Even at the marches in Dayton and Cincinnati, students in attendance said that turnouts were higher than expected. If nothing else, students that day saw that though their team may have lost, they are far from disbanded. The hope for positive change is still alive, and filled the air to saturation on that January afternoon.

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