Valley Voices

Why I’m marching for women today

Brittany Castanos-Osborne
Brittany Castanos-Osborne

Today millions of men and women will join together in unity for the Women’s March On Washington in response to the degrading and diminishing rhetoric towards women during the 2016 election cycle.

As native Fresno woman, I will be among them.

▪ I march because, in a family full of entrepreneurs, my sisters and I were just the first generation of female entrepreneurs.

▪ I march because my girlfriends deserve the same opportunities and pay as their male co-workers.

▪ I march because I don’t remember the first time I was catcalled, or the first time I walked home at night with fingers clenching pepper-spray. I don’t remember the first time I was told about abstinence but never about consent. Or the first time I heard people talk about “if she was drinking” or “wearing that” or “walking home at night” so she “in a way brought it on herself.” Or the first time I heard that she was “probably lying.”

▪ I march because I don’t remember the first time I wondered if I was pretty, or the first time I thought I was fat.

▪ I march because grabbing women by their private parts without their consent should never be downplayed as boys being boys but by what it really is. It’s illegal. It’s sexual assault.

▪ I march because there is no reason why kids should grow up in a world where they don’t see just as many women in politics, science, and business as they see men raising children, doing the grocery shopping, or fixing dinner.

▪ And I march because I’m tired of all the protests against Planned Parenthood. Most women have used Planned Parenthood in some capacity. I don’t think I have one friend who hasn’t utilized Planned Parenthood. Whether it be in high school, when we couldn’t talk to our parents. Or college when we still couldn’t talk to our parents, or afford our regular doctors. Or in our late 20s when our birth control was too expensive under our current coverage. We need it. And it’s no one’s business but our own. So I march.

To be crystal clear, this is not about blaming men, or blaming a new president, or even some women. This is about us. This is about acknowledging the realities of our culture and what we have accepted to be OK, both for ourselves and for our children.

Being a woman or a girl should never mean just having to “deal” with any of these things. And upon the very real threat of moving backward, we must support all women across this country in the march (always) forward.

So, yes, I march for respect, for health care, for equal pay. And I march for the same sense of safety and entitlement that others get to carry with them through their lives.

Brittany Castanos-Osborne of Fresno is participating with her husband, father and 15 other close friends and family in the “Women’s March on Washington” in Washington D.C.