Making Herstory!

Just after the presidential election, I along with millions of others joined Women’s Marches all across the country in protest of Trump’s ugly rhetoric and disrespect of women, people of color and those with disabilities. Here in my hometown of Bend Oregon more than 3,000 of us braved a driving snowstorm to come together to support kindness, unity and equality. In nearly twenty years of activism I have never seen my community so mobilized.

All across the country the Women’s Marches blew away the expected crowd sizes. Half a million people in DC. Boston expected crowds of 20,000 but over 100,000 turned out. Over 100,000 in Portland Oregon! As I write, late evening, the marches and rallies and massive crowds are still there, still active, still standing strong.

The pure display of powerful, impassioned women (and men who support them) really struck me. I feel very strongly that there has never been a more important time for “the feminine” to step up.

What do I mean by that? Well, I sure as hell don’t mean “ladylike”, as in polite and refined. And I don’t mean weak or subservient. What I mean by “the feminine” is that part of us (both men and women) that is brave enough to own and share our feelings. Our feminine is the part that is more about creating than destroying. It’s the part that seeks to nurture ourselves and others but will fight like a mama lion when necessary. It’s the part that doesn’t need to brag, belittle and boast to know and show our own worth and strength.

In our culture the feminine is massively undervalued. There is no clearer evidence than the election of Donald Trump who consistently uses braggadocio, threats and pussy-grabbing boasts to try to look strong. Now that’s nasty.

This devaluation of the feminine in our culture is so entrenched, so much the norm, that we don’t even have language to describe it! “Emasculate” means to castrate or weaken someone. So doesn’t that suggest that the word “effeminate” should mean to make something less feminine? Well, it doesn’t – according to the dictionary it’s an offensive term meaning “over-refined and lacking strength”. There is no word in the English language to describe the weakening or negative effects of reducing someone’s femininity.

History is being made. The events are historic. The crowds are historic. One man wants to make this all about his story. But in the end, our opportunity here is to make Herstory.

Thanks to all the women and men who marched today and especially to those of you who organized all these events. A great response. Now the call is to make this a beginning and not just an event.

Cylvia Hayes

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