Making the message clear at the San Francisco Women's March

- They were made using cardboard, marking pens and masking tape.

Some had simple slogans on them, others were more complex.

But most had a common thread— a message about the dissatisfaction with the president and the current state of women’s rights in 2018.

Over the weekend, I joined 65,000 people and a whole lot of signs at the San Francisco Women’s March. And while the chants from protesters were strong and moving, there was something about the (often witty) handcrafted messages on poster-boards that stood out.

One in the shape of a toilet, with the ‘poo’ emoji at the center, referenced the alleged “s***hole” comments made about Haiti and African countries in the Oval Office. There was plenty of other poopy signage, the crudely animated real-life version of a trending topic.

 

Then there were the signs about the #metoo movement that has been the driving force behind the current, growing wave of feminism: “Women’s Rights Not Up for Grabs and Neither Are Women #metoomovement #hearourvote” 

It was clear the recent takedowns of several high-profile men in powerful places over allegations of sexual misconduct and assault could not be contained to just Hollywood and Washington. 

Because this past year has provided plenty of fodder for critical protest signs, people were relentless in their creativity and did not hold back their thoughts putting pen to paper. 

Carefully constructed font in Sharpie read things like; “Abort This Presidency in the First Term”— a clever commentary that simultaneously skewers Trump, who had just become the first sitting president to speak via video feed at Washington’s March for Life event, and hinting towards either impeachment from the Mueller investigation or maybe even Trump’s mental fitness, which has become a sore subject as of late. 

An “Education Not Deportation” sign showed how one woman prioritizes quality of schools over the heated-immigration issue, and local police cooperation with ICE that has become a real threat for Bay Area sanctuary cities. Mayors are pledging to go to jail over this

And because no topic is too racially charged for the president, another sign read, “Stop Pretending Your Racism is Patriotism.” This was a clear jab at not only the 45th president who quite vocally called out NFL players at one of his rallies when he referred to them as “sons of bitches” for kneeling during the national anthem. But also to his followers who don’t agree that these protests are against police brutality. It’s not just any kind of police brutality, it’s the racially unjust kind that Colin Kaepernick is calling out, where a disproportionate number of African Americans are shot and killed by police. 

The theme of this year’s march was ‘Hear Our Vote.’ The message is loud and clear that there is strength in numbers, but also desire, drive and determination for women to take on more positions of power. That includes entering politics and being elected to office. One sign held by a young woman read, “You should smile RUN FOR OFFICE more.” 

 

But one of my favorite signs read, “Men of Quality Do Not Fear Equality,” the word equality highlighted in red. A man held this sign. I liked that inclusiveness. He may have been referring to the gender wage gap, but he may have intended it to work on a more profound level. 

In fact, many of the signs may have been intended to do just the same.

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