Photojournalist + Editorial Photographer



Women's March on Washington

I know.

I've put off posting about this. But for no reason other than its absolute importance to me. This is going to be personal. So if you're here looking for numbers, or statistics, or some type of unbiased view, you're not going to get that. Not with this. If you want to fault me, or shame me, or discredit my ability to be a trusted source, do me a favor and show up at the next protest I cover and tell me all about it.

When you grow up without your mom, you have to learn everything about being a woman the hard way. You let yourself get used, abused, mistreated, bullied, and grossly underestimated. You have to dig deep to trust your own intuition. And you have to have your own back when they call it a lie. You never know your own strength. You just know they don't want you to be strong. They tell you you're too emotional, you're too opinionated, you're too much of a know it all, but also you don't ever seem to know enough, you're too fat, but now you're too skinny, you're too lazy, but also don't you dare be doing more than me, go back to doing nothing again please. In my own life, as recently as yesterday, I have had to make myself less than, to make a man feel more comfortable. More secure. That's wild. Oh, and would you smile. 

All day long we are pulled in multiple directions. Stretched to create doubt and deepen insecurities. Every day it seems we come increasingly closer to breaking completely. Even this honesty would bring criticism. They would challenge its validity. Really? Our own personal feelings and the way in which we've experienced life is scrutinized? Whether you're a part of the problem or not, denying that it is a problem, now involves you, because I'd say a woman's number one obstacle is being heard. Listened to. Accepted. Championed. 

When the majority of the men in your family voted and support the man who has called women; "Fat, Pig, Dog, Slob, Disgusting animal, not a 10," it messes you up. When the men you love, support a man that has reduced an Olympians accomplishments to her looks, "Wonderful looking while on the ice but up close and personal, she could only be described as attractive if you like a woman with a bad complexion who is built like a linebacker" you realize they haven't been listening to you. They haven't even considered you. Not now, not ever. They do not even know you. Those were not deal breakers for them. Those things did not insult them the way they insulted me because I'm the one he was talking about. On Donald Trump's attractive meter, I'd be all of those remarks. Being a woman in an industry saturated with men, you fight daily just to be seen at all. You fight off those same thoughts, the ones that have you considering that this is all they view in you. You have to match a man's mediocre, with nothing less than absolute greatness. And even then, acceptance is hard to come by. Maybe if the men in my life knew that I never feel like my work is good enough, because I'm not physically good enough, then they'd reconsider. Or regroup. Have a discussion about it. Look into what they've just done to the women in their lives. His presidency has taken a side. A side that tells women you are nothing until a man is attracted to you.  How simple. Why am I $80,000 in student loan debt, and not just out modifying my body parts? 

This is why I march. The beauty of the Women's March is that you could read 5 million other blog posts about it, and every single one would describe a different purpose for being there. We were all there for our own reasons. Personal individual fights, simply backed up by an unspoken comradery. The streets reflected the acceptance you'd been lacking. You didn't have to beg for it. You just had to show up for it. 

I didn't go into this expecting it to change anything, I wasn't out there to whine or cry. I'm done trying to get the attention or consideration from any man, It's obvious where we stand. And nor do I believe any other woman was out there doing that. But I was out there for my mom. I wanted her to see, from wherever she is, that in the short time she did have with me, her influence has outlasted the complexity and pain of this place. I am on the side she raised me to be on.  

Emilee McGovern Protection Status