I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled into the parking lot outside of town and got into line to wait for the shuttle taking people to the Women’s March in Seneca Falls, New York. Unlike some of my friends, who had spent the week enthusiastically knitting pink pussy hats or making posters, I wasn’t certain about attending the Women’s March. A few close friends echoed my doubts. ‘I’m just afraid it will be an echo chamber of privileged women’, one said. ‘I guess it’s better than doing nothing, but I don’t see what it’s supposed to accomplish’, said another. ‘The aims seem so vague. It’ll end up being just like Occupy: here today, gone tomorrow’, one worried. In the end, I decided to go and see for myself, and Seneca Falls is the historic site of the first American women’s rights convention, in 1848, so it seemed as good a place as any for this kind of gathering.
Unlike the march in Washington, where the colour pink and pussy imagery seemed to be de rigueur, the organisers of the Seneca Falls event requested that we dress in the traditional American Suffragette colors of purple, gold and white. This meant a surprising number of attendees were sporting Minnesota Vikings shirts, which come in the same hues. Women of all ages, along with a few men and children, chatted and took selfies, showed off their handmade signs. When it turned out that the shuttle was only able to carry 20 people at a time, the able-bodied among us decided to walk the 45 minutes to the site of the rally.
The marchers were amiable, the weather was unseasonably warm and the mood was light. When we passed a ramshackle house with three men sitting outside, one of them sporting a giant cut-out of Trump’s head, we smiled and waved at them and they did the same – there was none of the animosity there had been in November. Cars honked out greetings and the walkers held up their signs in response. Most of the marchers were from out of town, which made sense: Seneca Falls is a small town with a population of 7,000, most of whom seemed, at least in the shopping centres outside of town, to be going about their usual business