Women’s March Speech by Saniyah Bolton

Saniyah Bolton, she/her, sophomore at Exeter High School
Codirector and representative of the BLM Youth Division

The abortion ban, or what’s being called the Fetal Life Protection Act, is one of the most infuriating governmental laws I have seen passed throughout my entire life. Now is one the most important times of the decade to impose woman empowerment and rights. 

So what truly is feminism? 

Feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of equality of the sexes. But in this concept, what are the benefits of these actions without the collective advocating of all communities within women?

Black Men could vote before white women because white men saw and still see white women as vessels for white supremacy. They need white women to make more of them and they have no problem stripping you of your rights to make sure this continues. To make sure their sweet controlled and loyal housewife is still at home to cook their dinner and do their laundry. And even after this treatment, white women still seem to ignore racial issues because it doesn’t affect them, or because it was in defense for another man. 

The whiteness you behold does not shield you from the effects of inequality so do not act like it shall. If you want to discuss equality and women’s empowerment within corporations, governmental and political positions, and other subjects pertaining to those ideas, you need to first get your head out of the white feminism mindset and discuss the issues POC women face.

Because if not together we fight, then inevitably the effects will be the same. All the so-called accomplishments created and enforced by these ‘feminists’ aren’t going to do any justice for the Black women who died or their child died in birth because the pregnancy related mortality rate is still 4 – 5 times higher than white women’s. It’s not going to give Black women that 20% of their check back because that’s the pay gap between Black and white women. It’s not going to advocate for women who can no longer wear hijabs in France because they are discussing the passing of laws to ban wearing these articles of clothing, or the women not controlled under the Taliban’s rule being beaten, raped, and ripped from their rights and religion. 

I recognize that we all face misogyny as women here in America, and it’s disgusting. But do not let it persuade you to forget that the type of misogyny women of color face is a whole other type of mistreatment you wouldn’t be able to wrap your heads around if you tried. Be actively intersectional with the work you do and the accomplishments that can come from practicing that one idea might lead to be one of the biggest impacts within women’s history, ever. 

Marginalized women are not included within mainstream feminism so it leads to us creating our own spaces and advocating for ourselves. Feminism without intersectionality and recognizing the issues with women of color is just more white supremacy with a dress on. It’s reinforcing white privilege in disguise. 

Many want to discuss how being more self revealing and showing more of our bodies is a form of liberation. I can see the perspective of this of course, allowing self confidence and comfort within our own bodies is very important. Being able to see and allow others to see ourselves without fear of being sexualized or tormented because of it is much needed. If it’s a form of liberation for you, then that’s amazing, but this also forgets all the women who choose to cover up more whether it’s because of religion or not, and in these instances many of these women are POCs. So again, concepts like this will never truly be reinforced without allowing women of color to step up and out of the hole we are trapped in because of the embedded racism in society and the systems. 

As Angela Davis said…

“Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve consciousness of capitalism (I meant feminism that I relate to, and there are multiple feminisms, right). So it has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post-colonialism, and ability and more genders than we can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.”

Woman empowerment and feminism is one of the most significant ways of activism throughout my life, and I am a woman as many of you can see. So continuing this movement and keeping it inclusive of all and educating ourselves is what we need to to to further women’s voices and actions within the world. 

But again, thank you for all of you showing up to this event and showing the tremendous support, and enjoy the march!

I am Saniyah Bolton, and I’m a sophomore at Exeter High School. I am a co-director of the BLM Seacoast Youth Division and a representative of BLM Seacoast.

Watch Saniyah deliver this speech here: https://www.facebook.com/blklivesmatterseacoast/videos/235238818632129 

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