; ; 30 Jan 2017

Reflections on the Women’s March

A photo essay by Maria Simoes Coelho

What do you do when you have to do research, go to the library, write chapters and generally look for historical evidence of the subject of your dissertation?

You go to the Women’s March.

I thought about writing obviously, but nevertheless I was debating what I should do while I stood on the platform waiting for the tube to go to the British Library.

I must have seemed quite disturbed, or at least volatile, as I entered the tube, came out, went back in and finally came out again. In my indecision, I had realized that the library would still be there on Monday, the March would not.

So I went back to my apartment, plonked my computer on my bed, grabbed a bottle of water and my camera and made my way again to the tube, this time in another direction entirely.

The mood felt electrifying, like bees buzzing on flower fields in spring, and on the day it felt no different with mobiles buzzing with the arrangement of meetings on the corners of streets, in front of shops or under that big sign, hugs and kisses and friends coming together.

From the farthest corners of the tube lines you could see girls and women, young and old, with pussy hats, and signs, even drums to liven up the crowd, and in all our faces a knowing smile that we knew where we were all going.

It was beautiful and peaceful. There were women; mothers, daughters, babies and grandmothers, aunts, friends and men, because equality is for everyone.

Some people had homemade and handmade signs, some reused materials like toys instead of using wood to prop up the sign, some had signs from political parties, some just walked, making their presence their message.

My friends and colleagues from the HoD course were essential in this process, not only would they be my fellow marchers, my companions and entertainers during the long hours, they would help to deal with anxiety of what was surely to be a very large crowd. Together we would have the opportunity to stand up and say “This is not O.K.”, to say we will not be quiet, not only for ourselves but for our family and friends, for the ones that still haven’t got a voice, for the ones that are coming and to honour the memory of those who fought before us for these same rights. For the women and the men that are subjected to gender inequality, sexual violence, for all those we came together with love, innocence and creativity.

The question now is: What are we going to do next?


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