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Class, Not Crass: Empowering Women’s March Signs

Photo by Diana Percy and Graphic by Will Tulp

Asset 1-100“This p—- grabs back.” “I’m Ovary-Reacting? Nope.” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun-damental Rights.”

These signs popped up at women’s marches nationwide Jan. 20, the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration.


Whether you went to a women’s march or not, it only takes a simple Google search and you’ll find thousands of different posters from women’s marches in DC, London or any other major city, fighting for equality. Participants are marching for equality for all races, social economic classes and genders.

A classmate once told me that a sign reading “B–– get s–– done” isn’t “ladylike,” the language is not appropriate and such language should be censored in public.

I wanted to tell her to go straight to hell, but I doubted she wouldn’t have been able to overlook the “profanity” to understand the intent of the message.

I don’t find those signs with harsh language inappropriate – in fact, I find them to be badass. There is no reason a person can’t positively utilize the negative words women have been called over and over again, even by our president. I’ve seen women fight back with their words – and in the funniest way possible.

Clever plays on words and humor in protests has become more relevant in today’s society than ever. One of my favorite signs at a climate change protest this past April in DC read “It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your coals.” Puns like this address a controversial topic without lessening the seriousness of the situation or blatantly hurting the opposing side.

And that’s the point. Using humorous signs with puns about Princess Leia and the resistance is empowering and makes people remember the message.

Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher references aren’t the only ones that showed up on colorful posters around the world. While the goal for equality unified women, everyone marched for their own reasons.

Some held up signs purely against President Trump and his derogatory statements about women. But then next to them is a little girl in a pink Statue of Liberty crown holding a pink sign that read “Little girls with dreams become women with vision.”

Thankfully for that little girl and her dreams, this isn’t the 19th century and its time for everyone to wake up and realize this. Women are no longer meant to sit and serve. We speak out, regardless if spoken to. And we can and will use colorful language to get our points across.

The language sends a message, a powerful one in order to build confidence and unity – not to tear others down. It’s not to call out others negatively but rather to take the insults thrown at women and turn them into something positive–and shocking.

That’s freedom of speech and part of our rights living in the United States, even if it isn’t in a ladylike fashion. The same USA that pledges liberty and justice for all in the national anthem.

Amidst a sea of protesters, a group of young women holding signs reading “P— Power” isn’t negative nor derogatory. They are united in idea, marching for equality like everyone else and focusing on how the language may not be ‘ladylike’ does nothing.

The women’s marches nationwide are meant to empower people, and in these past few years the amount of women powerfully speaking up for themselves, either at a march or as part of the MeToo movement or the TimesUp movement, has grown tremendously.

And it’s not just women. Men participate in marches, holding signs like “feminism is the radical notion that all people are equal.” Crazy, I know.

Whether it was a woman, man or child holding the sign at a women’s march, none of the signs I have seen have been anything less than empowering–regardless of the language.

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Scout Rice

Scout Rice is a junior at Shawnee Mission East and is co-opinion section editor and copy editor. This is her second year on the Harbinger staff. Besides journalism, she is involved in the International Baccalaureate program, a Lancer Dancer, cross country, and SHARE. In her little free time, you can find her reading a good book or trying out a new coffee shop. She is beyond excited to work with new people this year and improve her skills in journalism. Read Full »

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