Anger was found in the pink thread that formed "pussy hats.” In the dry ink. Within the fibers of the wooden sticks we fastened signs to. And in the eyes of thousands of women and men who gathered in Paris, France.
"So so solidarité" the women chanted, "Avec les femmes du monde entier." (Solidarity with women around the world.)
What happens, I wondered, when the anger becomes silent? When thousands of beanies occupy closet space? When our hands, once stained with permanent black marker, are washed clean? When our messages become a burden to the public sanitation department? Do we shut up?
Or, does this fiery emotion manifest in different ways?
I asked several women to share their frustrations. Then, I asked them how they will use their anger to create change.
Donald Trump is a symbol of hatred. His voice, coupled with a sharpened asperity, has insulted many.
As Camille Andrea Rich, 52, a poet/ESL teacher/self-proclaimed “motherologist” living in Paris explained:
"He seems to also not possess the restraint, poise, dignity, intellect, culture nor character that I deem necessary to hold such an office. After all, the position should require the ability to represent ALL Americans. He has clearly chosen to act otherwise. His past choices and discourse are testimony to that glaring reality. His current advisory choices reflect those of one who might truly be wishing for our collective demise. His overt admissions towards race, class and gender slander, shake, rattle and rumble the already unstable foundation on which the country was grafted in the first place."
Camille and her family demand change daily through the notion that in order to create change, sometimes one must create art.
"All of us [Rich family] are artists of some form. That is our vehicle, by necessity, for survival."
Calyn Rich, 22, a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and a participant at yesterday's march, created Dill Comics (www.dillcomics.com), a site flooded with wit. Her comics portray life during the Trump era using facetious text to discuss existential issues.
Linda Meyers, 72, escaped the harsh realities of unaffordable health care in the United States and moved to Europe in the early 2000s.
Her blue eyes glistened with sadness as she expressed her disappointed in the American president.
"I'm ashamed. We had a president that was dignified, and now we've got this clown," she said as she held a homemade Trump replica, fabricated by infuriated hands.
"I would tweet him if I knew how to tweet!" she exclaimed emphatically.
Meyers is not stunted by her inability to use this social media platform. She plans to send her Trump model to the president’s press secretary.
"It'll probably get screened for anthrax, but I want him to see this," Meyers said.
Trump's flagrant insensitivity towards women, among many other minority groups, was noticed worldwide. In Paris, Marie Cervetti, 59, shared her reaction:
“It was important to show the world that when a man, especially one in power, insults and humiliates the women of his country, progressive women and men will unite to say to him: ‘Listen, we will not surrender. Your hatred towards women and minorities will stir up the whole world.’”
Cervetti is a member of the National Committee for Equality between Women and Men, and an expert in the field of gender-based violence against women.
"I work with women, especially young victims of macho violence, to transform their traumas. I also work to deconstruct gender stereotypes. Our struggle will be long because it is upsetting the order established by the patriarchy."
Marie Becker is a project leader of a national committee for professional equality between women and men. Becker and her daughter wore homemade “pussy hats” at the Women’s March in Paris.
Vincent Viktoria Strobel, 61, represented BiCause, a bisexual organization that “fights against any hierarchy of genres and challenges male prevalence and the predominant heterosexual norm.”
“This year important political choices are before us, we must highlight how we want to advance society. What we must do to avoid setbacks: marches, articles, debates, discussions with people on the street, in cafes, to explain and convince.
Mr. Trump’s success, on the contrary, must serve as an example of what must be denounced, what must not be accepted in France. We must be vigilant.”
As Camille Rich said, "We've gone from class to crass." How do we proceed from here? We go forth together, in solidarity.
Photos by Jonathan Tessier.
Jonathan Tessier has a Master of Journalism degree from the ESJ Paris. In 2011 he launched a webzine under the name infos-reportages. With either a Nikon or a camera, he covers political and cultural meetings for European or Local news. Follow him on Twitter @tessierjonathan.
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