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Pre-2008 Posts

Million Women Rise!























This was a spectacular event!  It was the largest International Women’s Day event in many  years, drawing between 3,000 and 5,000 participants according to women who attended.  And yet?  No newspapers, at all, in the United States have covered it.  The only U.S. media outlet reporting it was Women’s E-News

Annika, who was present at the event, wrote of it:

 The brightly coloured banners of all shapes and sizes could be seen dotted throughout the crowds, waving proudly in the wind. It wasn’t a sunny day, and had rained at one point, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. There were women singing, women dancing to the drums, women chanting, blowing whistles, playing brass instruments, playing home made instruments, women who didn’t even know each other standing together. The atmosphere was joyful and uplifting. Leaflets, information sheets were handed out to further the support for organisations that are being closed down (Southall Black Sisters, Rape Crisis Centres).

…Survivors of domestic abuse, rape, sexual assault, discrimination… Standing strong together. Women in wheelchairs attending the march, determined to show their support.

As we came towards the Trafalgar Square, the atmosphere was euphoric. We had been chanting consistently, it felt like the whole march was chanting the same one, we were nearly there. The feeling was just amazing for everybody, knowing that we had marched for our mothers, our sisters, our aunts, our daughters, our friends. Turning the corner to the rally, we saw a screen with the Million Women Rise symbol on it. A sense of triumph went throughout the crowd as we reached our point. We filled up the space in front of Nelson’s Column, awaiting the speakers we had come to support. The words on a huge screen read:

One Woman
One body
One song
One love

There was a selection of speakers at the rally that left many of us tearful. We could hear and feel their words, understand the meaning and the strength behind them. There were women speaking who were survivors of domestic violence, an inspiration to all as they spoke with confidence and dignity. There were representatives from national and campaigning organisations such as Southall Black Sisters; Women’s Aid; Fawcett Society; Women’s Institute; Women and Girls Network and the Rape Crisis Federation.

It was a great day, and we had the opportunity to show our support as Birmingham Feminists. People looked at our banner with, what I hope was, approvement. We made our debut at MWR, chanted with the various groups that were there, and embraced the sisterhood that we have come to know. We are proud to be women, proud to be fighting for women, and we won’t stop until we get justice.

If you go to the links below, there are many more photos of the event.  I’ve been sitting here crying my eyes out over them.  Oh women, can we we rise?  Can we rise a million strong in every nation throughout the world next March 8?  Can we rise above limiting our reports to the one incident in the event which might have marred it?  What an inspiring event.   I am so grateful to all who organized it and all who attended it and all who preserved it in photographs.

Million Women Rise
Link, Link



    21 thoughts on “Million Women Rise!

    1. It was so, so good and so, so inspiring. There were moments when I wanted to cry from the sheer overwhelming power of it all. What if we truly were united like that, every day? What if we really pulled together? Imagine how much noise we could make… imagine how we could change the world.

      Posted by Anji | March 14, 2008, 9:08 pm
    2. Thanks for this post, Heart! I couldn’t make it to the march, but can *almost* imagine being there looking at the pictures 🙂

      There was very little press coverage of it in the UK, too, when you consider the number of women involved. I suspect that, if it had been 4000 men marching through London, suddenly the papers would have found space for that story. x

      Posted by Debs | March 14, 2008, 9:17 pm
    3. Wow! It must have been so powerful to be there.

      Posted by Tami | March 15, 2008, 12:41 am
    4. It was a fabulous day, worth braving the wretched weather for!

      Heart, at my last check, none of the mainstream UK press covered the march either — only feminist blogs and Indymedia. That was it. Not even the BBC.

      The media seem to have no problem covering smaller marches and protests, yet a feminist one of decent size is all but erased.

      Next year I think it will be even bigger. Several thousand was a fantastic number for the first march. We have to make these numbers too big to ignore. (Which reminds me of the Helen Redy song: “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore”)

      Learnt some fabulous new chants too, almost lost my voice at one point.

      Posted by stormy | March 15, 2008, 5:26 am
    5. Holy shit, I can’t believe this didn’t get any press! When I worked at a paper, sometimes one of the reasons why otherwise newsworthy events didn’t get the attention they deserved was due to a lack of pictures or graphs, but obviously that wasn’t the case here. This event could have made such a beautiful centerpiece in some otherwise bland paper — photo opportunities like this are rare. Now I see why I didn’t go into journalism.

      Posted by mekhit | March 15, 2008, 6:07 am
    6. I am LIVID that this got no coverage. It was really an amazing event in so many ways, the numbers, for one, but the diversity of women! Look at this amazing diversity! Argh, this makes me so angry. Not only would it have been a beautiful centerpiece, it could have so inspired and encouraged so many women. Can’t have that. :::rage::: I kept going to google again and again only to find the same five or six blog posts. 😦 And don’t even get me started on the fact that what *was* reported was one incident between women at the very end.

      I think a couple of these might be Anji’s photos, she took lots of good ones. 🙂

      Posted by womensspace | March 15, 2008, 4:02 pm
    7. Plus it was a women-and-children only event, yet drew this large crowd, in horrible weather!

      Posted by womensspace | March 15, 2008, 4:05 pm
    8. Let’s do one here!!!!
      Take back the night is coming up, we could ally with other women’s groups and make huge marches across the country.

      Posted by Lauren | March 15, 2008, 5:12 pm
    9. Do it Lauren, do it!! 😀

      I’m going to make sure I’m there next year, I’m determined. I’ll ring the papers and tell them to get their asses down to Trafalgar Square!!

      Posted by Debs | March 15, 2008, 6:00 pm
    10. Keep in mind that women’s events like this happen all the time everywhere, and the malestream media erases it. They don’t want us to know how united and strong we are. They try to silence women.

      Freedom of the press belongs to those who own the presses! Remember that? We had our own media in the beginning, and we have it again on the blogs. Everything passionately feminist that I know about never came out of any mainstream publication ever.

      Well, only one thing: I heard about Melissa Etheridge’s and Ellen’s split up from TIME magazine! 🙂 But that’s it women I swear 🙂 🙂

      Posted by Satsuma | March 15, 2008, 7:34 pm
    11. Go UK! Keep on rocking that boat!

      Keep in mind that women’s events like this happen all the time everywhere, and the malestream media erases it. They don’t want us to know how united and strong we are. They try to silence women.

      Yep. In 2004, I marched in The March for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C. We were 1.15 million strong. It was the largest march in American history, yet there was barely a peep about it in the media. I’ve spoken to many people across this country. Outside of feminist circles, no one had heard a word about it and had no one had a clue that the event had even occurred. The largest march in American history and no one heard about it? WTF?

      I often hear that feminism is dead and no one’s doing anything any more. But marches and protests abound and occur frequently. It’s not that feminism is dead, it’s that the powers that be just want us dead so it has the media kill any coverage of women’s events to give the illusion that feminists have all packed their bags and gone home now to get married and have babies. That way the boys can get back to focusing on what really turns them on. War. Which serves as a distraction and diversion from what the real problem is. Themselves.

      Posted by Luckynkl | March 17, 2008, 6:21 am
    12. Yes, indeed. The boys have been trying to declare feminism dead over and over again. I believe famously the New York Times or TIME magazine did this back in 1970– cover story??

      Anyway, they wish right!

      I’ve always gotten news and also written feminist news and commentary for geez decades now. We used to do exchanges with feminist publications worldwide. When I was running a wee little eight page monthly magazine, I got 30-40 exchanges per month. Remember “Manushi” “Lesbian Tide”, “Broadsheet”, “Telewoman”, “Woman to Woman”, and more?

      The funny thing, is you just have to look. I tell every feminist I know about this blog and others. We write our own news, and the right women find it as they have always done!

      But we do have to know that a common patriarchal tactic is erasure of women’s work. This goes on generation after generation. There is pretty bad communication between feminist generations now, and young women think it’s cool to denegrate the work of the previous generation, and to take a lot of things out of herstorical context.

      It’s always a danger. I don’t think we have the luxury of being so picky. Whether you are liberal, radical, middle of the road or a student, feminist politics affects the choices women make and the access they have.

      I even get a kick out of the conservative “Claire Booth Luce” foundation and their CNN panel discussions. All these very conservative women claiming THEIR feminist identity. Their fear of “radical feminism” ruining everything is really disguised lesbophobia. But these days, even these neocons don’t trash lesbians openly anymore.

      There is a huge divide between what I label achievement feminism and radical feminism. I’d say I’m more of an achievement feminist now. I like to see all the accomplishments of women in the work world, and there is nothing better than to see women in technology, and national women’s studies association and all the other professional women’s groups out there. National Association of Women Business Owners is another one. None of these organizations would have been created without the great awakening of feminism.

      Groups are being created now for women 50 and older, and this is an exciting development. I met the Asian American leader of the Hillary campaign a few months ago at one of these events. These women are committed and passionate.

      We honored 50 women leaders age 50 and older recently, and it was a huge program at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a great old hotel, and we had all these powerful women there. I loved every minute of it.

      Feminism is alive and well, and women have to stand their ground. Men and patriarchy want to divide women with scare tactics and lesbophobia. But here we all are doing great things and egging each other on.

      Our British sisters are out there going for it! We’re marching in Washington, and we’re building viable businesses all over the place.

      Keep up the good work women, and just know the tactics of patriarchy. They are old, tired and utterly predictable. Patriarchy is crafty and sneaky, but it is not very original or innovative. Just look at the catholic church, the same dead old men trying to con women into believing a bunch of nonsense.
      The thing is women do get conned into supporting these womenhating organizations; they don’t know better or they haven’t had time to develop an alternative ideology.

      So radical feminism and all the other “little’ feminisms out there are things women come upon. There is beat the stuffing out of women converts to feminism, there are the feminists who were just born that way, and every woman in between.

      We’re are farther ahead and more powerful than ever. It is often hard to see this because stupid men control the “media” but now their little smokescreen is being revealed. My attitude is that feminist power worldwide is an act of faith. we always know that women want freedom and that they are getting it. Men know this and try to throw out our history and burn our letters. But we know half the human population is always about change and innovation.

      There was the ” Chris Mathews moment” when this buffoon had to apologize ON THE AIR for comments he made about Hillary Clinton! I love it when the boys are forced to go belly up! It’s a shift in power women, and all of us are a part of it.
      Those good old boys on T.V. have to walk on egg shells not to look too womanhating now. You can see it on their strained and falsely smiling faces, you can read the shock when Hillary wins a primary — “oh wow she did it all on her own!” they say amazed. I love this fear I see on their smug nightly news faces now, the uncertainty in their voices… it is ours to lose women! We’re in the power seat and don’t know it, but we really are.

      Remember the right wing idiots have been throwing everything at us now, and yet the great rise in lesbian and gay power came about in the 80s and 90s. When Reagan came along, so did we. Now ever “liberal” candidates are forced to support “civil unions.” They don’t like doing this. Straight people get awfully fussy about their little institutions, but nevertheless, it is harder and harder for all these people to out and out attack us as KKK-style homophobes. Straigth candidates, even the republican ones have to say the word “lesbian” — wow, this is really hard for mainstream straight people to do. I smile at their discomfort 🙂

      I am proud to be a 70s era lesbian feminist and claim that decade as my own! I’m proud of all the women who got these blogs together and made all this happen.

      I’m celebrating the 20th aniversary of the Lambda Literary Awards this May! 20th years of gay and lesbian writers, editors and publishers all together at the Pacific Design Center to honor each other. This group was founded in 1988, right smack in the middle of the AIDS epidemic, and yet here we are!

      It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and we all know about the Irish women who came here on their own, the largest ethnic group composed of single women in the history of American immigration. That’s right, all the other groups who came were mostly men, or married men, but Irish women came to America for opportunity and adventure, and these tough women became some of our greatest lesbian feminist thinkers.

      St. Bridget is the goddess and a saint all wrapped up in one.

      Read Mary Daly’s magical writings about her trips to Ireland in her brilliant autobiography “Outercourse” — hang an icon of Bridget in your home! Talk to a four leaf clover, as Daly did at the beginning of her incredible intellectual journey.

      Be proud women! Patriarchy will never keep us down, and if we get it right, their right wing rule in America is being challenged. People now know that the war was wrong (as if we all hadn’t figured that out years ago), and people are excited again.

      When we write to each other, we are our own radical feminist committees of correspondance, and thus it will always be 🙂

      Posted by Satsuma | March 17, 2008, 8:27 pm
    13. O’spam a coming down O’Mally lane 🙂 Sending a four leaf clover to you all 🙂

      Posted by Satsuma | March 17, 2008, 8:28 pm
    14. Did anyone go to the Women’s march in Los Angeles? Indymedia LA has photos of it; I’d love to hear any accounts.

      Posted by Lauren | March 18, 2008, 3:18 am
    15. Stormy you were there? And I didn’t get to meet you?! Outrageous! At the next march I decree you shall wear a very tall bright orange hat with STORMY written on it vertically in lime green glitter. 😀

      Posted by Anji | March 18, 2008, 8:05 pm
    16. Thanks for this post Heart. Glad to see the Birmingham Fems account was quoted – Annika was particularly awed by the event and I was so glad to experience that with her.

      Just wanted to point two supposedly “more worthy” stories that made the BBC news about people gathering:
      1) on the same weekend 1000+ people from Nottingham gathered on a park dressed as Robin Hood and broke world record. This makes National BBC news.
      2) 100s of youngsters in Lichfield (west mids) march through the town demanding a world class skate park from the council. This makes the West Midlands BBC news.
      3) between 4-5000 women shut down half of central London while making the constant, beautiful noise of collective empowerment and take over Trafalgar Square, a main tourist attraction, to watch many speakers talk about experiences of violence against men and the global oppression of women. To be found only in feminist media (I really don’t think Indymedia did it justice personally, but that’s because I was there and I don’t feel that they capture the spirit).

      Conspiracy? BLATANTLY!

      Posted by Grace | April 6, 2008, 6:53 am
    17. Indeed Grace. We have to write our own news!

      Posted by Satsuma | April 7, 2008, 5:03 am
    18. Anji, yes, of course I was there, with Grace, Michelle, and others (I moved about).

      You can always spot me/us with the purple.

      Recently, a member of ‘the posse’ criticised radfem bloggers as talking much and doing little, challenging us to put forth our activism creds (or something). We are out there strong in activism (one reason I don’t blog actually), but the malestream media erase it. The posse erase it. (Shows you which side the posse is on, and it’s not feminism.)

      This summer, we will again be out in protesting force.

      One day it may actually appear in the malestream media. Even though they would like you to think ‘feminism is dead’. It’s not. We need it more than ever.

      Posted by stormy | April 8, 2008, 6:09 pm
    19. Men erase feminism at every opportunity, and now we have young women doing this to older women activists.

      It’s a serious problem– controlling our own presses and reporting on our own events. This stuff hardly ever gets into the malestream media, because “feminism is dead’ is something men have been saying forever. New York Times declared feminism dead in 1971 I think, and it goes on and on.

      So it’s the Margaret Mead deal — only small groups change the world, and we’re it and always will be it.

      Keep writing, keep reporting, and keep informing. The right women always discover radical feminism when they need it most. So if we build it, they come 🙂

      Posted by Satsuma | April 8, 2008, 10:16 pm


    1. Pingback: Million Women Rise… « Sparkle*Matrix - March 14, 2008

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