Yes, There Was a Women’s March in Vegas
“Feminist: a person who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I know. We’ve heard that quote a million times while listening to Beyonce’s “Flawless.” But, how does this quote relate to my experience at the 2017 Las Vegas Women’s March this past Saturday? It’s simple: it redefines what the march was really all about: equality for women.
My experience began when I decided to go see what the march was all about in my local Las Vegas, and to go show some support for womankind everywhere.
When we got there men, women, and children were holding signs, including a woman who wore a catsuit (literally!) and had a black sign saying “Stop Pussy Grabbing!” Women were screaming “MY BODY! MY CHOICE!” loud, signs being held high in the air, and hundreds of people stopping by to show support was simply such a beautiful thing, not to mention Congresswoman Dina Titus gave a speech about women empowerment, and YG’s “FDT,” Beyonce’s “Run The World” and “Formation,” as well as Rihanna’s “Work” blaring.
So what made the march different from anywhere else, you may ask?
Las Vegas became an instant judgment-free zone just that day. Living in the city of bright lights and sin, it’s interesting how much feminism was really expressed because of how many women came from all over Las Vegas and even Nevada — women that are different from me were just like me, if that makes sense, because of how they are all about the true ideal and definition of what it means to be a feminist rather than just being out there because it seems like fun.
What was also different was that it is in LAS VEGAS, which is known for sex appeal, prostitution, and nightlife. In addition to meeting an 87-year-old woman who was out there and telling me how she had never seen something like this and how glorious it was to really see women of all ages fighting to “taking back the pussy from the boys.”
And for me personally, being able to march in my hometown meant a lot.
As I sit here in my onesie and look back on my long, but glorious day at this march, I look back on my history of the struggles that I’ve had to overcome. Being a Black female student, it is an absolute struggle when you have to fight every day for two things: equality for women and the right to be accepted as Black.
Working in a male-dominated department in addition to being the youngest Black woman within that department, it is a constant battle when you get stares, comments, and tiny laughs from other people just because you’re a young Black woman who only wants to be appreciated for being herself rather than just being “Black” or a “woman.”
I also think about the grapples my mother and sisters have to face everyday within their workplace because they are Black women. While looking back, I also think about my best friend, who is constantly sexualized by men due to her features instead of her beauty, grace, and intelligence. I also look back and reflect those who are fighting the battle against America due to their sexual orientation, and how they are “different” than those who are heterosexual.
In addition, I also reflect on what Emily Sears said in an interview with Hardwood and Hollywood:
“Black lives matter, bullying and harassment is real, eating disorders are real. Shaming, victim blaming and rape culture are real. Anything goes is commentary, because anything goes in our society. There’s real suffering and people are disenfranchised. People are frustrated.”
Living in Las Vegas, there is so much sex appeal and prostitution (yes, there are prostitutes in Vegas!) as well as women traveling all over just to get a taste of the lobster and the bright lights. As a woman here in a city filled with so much sex appeal, how is feminism such an important slice of life? It’s simple: women here in Las Vegas are your typical Amber Rose and Beyoncé type of gals: yes, you can be sexy, but I am still a human being.
While there are a variety of organizations here in Las Vegas dedicated to empowering women, including Girl Trek, which is an organization to bringing women of all race, age, sexual orientation, and much more together and empowering them, the march was also a great way for women to unite together in a city that is dedicated to entertainment and nightlife. In this city, being a woman, especially a feminist, is trying to find a needle in a haystack.
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As a local, I’ve noticed and experienced so much cat calling from men, especially while wearing outfits to a nightclub. There have also been points of time where men will grab on woman, and try to take control of another woman because she has a glass of alcohol and “in need of dick.” (Yes, I have heard a guy tell a woman that before.)
It is also a difficult time being a feminist because of how many women are objectified and known as sexual beings due to living in a city where women who are sexual workers are being handed to men everywhere, both local and tourists — not to mention how many women might be being exploited as sex workers by men.
Now, what does the connection between Las Vegas and the long explanation correlate to the women’s march this past Saturday? Despite women being sexualized and objectified by local and tourist men, Las Vegas women are still fighting the battle of being accepted by everyone. And the fight is for all of us.
This fight is for the young girls who is like Carla Jamerson, a 14-year-old girl here in Las Vegas who committed suicide in 2015 because she was bullied in school by her peers. This battle is for women, men, and children who just want to be loved by everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation and what choices they make. This march was for the women who are constantly criticized and being called “fat,” “slut,” “whore,” and “ugly.” This fight is for women like me, who are going through the daily struggle of being a Black woman in a world that no matter what happens, we are still being treated as if we do not matter. This fight is also for those who just want to love and be loved. This fight is even for the Kim Kardashians, the Amber Roses, the Janet Mocks, the Amiyah Scotts, the Yara Shahidis, the Amandla Stenbergs or even the Michelle Obamas of the world.
Overall point? No matter who you are, you are perfect and deserve respect.