Recently I came across notices for a Dress Like a Woman Rally that was to be held on a Saturday afternoon in downtown Seattle. This was in reaction to the Grabber-in-Chief telling his female staffers that they needed to dress like a woman. Since then, there have been lots of women posting photos on social media. “This is how I dress like a woman.” Women in their military fatigues. Women in medical scrubs. You get the idea.
I was really excited about this rally. First of all, it is the first protest-y thing that has fit with my weird work schedule. I was thrilled. I planned to dress in my bridgetender best—a greasy safety vest and a hard hat. I have always been proud to work in an inexplicably male dominated field.
Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Someone high up in my chain of command took issue with me wearing my hard hat because it had the company logo on it. You’d think Seattle, of all cities, wouldn’t have a problem with me standing up for women’s rights, but whatever. A friend was kind enough to loan me a hard hat with the Seattle Seahawks logo on it. And I made a sign that said, “Yup. And I vote, too.”
I was ready.
Then, the day of the protest, I saw an update. Instead of being from 4pm to 8 pm as planned for weeks, it was now going to be 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Okay, fine. I did think 4 hours was unusually long for a thing like this. I had planned to leave work at 3 and wait in my car for an hour. An extra half hour wasn’t that big of a deal.
Then, at almost the last minute, there was another update, saying it was going to be from 5:30 to 7:30. What was going on? This was a Saturday. It wasn’t as if they were having to accommodate the 9 to 5ers. As we say in the South, “That ain’t no way to run a railroad.”
I began to seriously wonder if this was a joke. That, and now I’d be expected to wait for 2 ½ hours, until after dark, in my cold car, after a long day at work, for an event that I was no longer sure was legitimate.
I was so disappointed. I decided to just go home. The next day, I looked for news about the event. All I could find was one photo from Reuters that showed about 5 women marching.
I imagine a lot of women showed up at 4, or 4:30, and saw no one, and left. Even more were most likely put off by all the last minute changes like I was. I bet they were equally disappointed. This could have been something big.
Maybe it was. Maybe it was just under-reported. But somehow I doubt it.
The reason “getting organized” is linked so strongly with social protest is that this kind of random fly by the seat of your pants thing does not work. It’s a rookie mistake. Make a plan. Stick to it. Last minute changes make people nervous and cause confusion.
I hope they’ll try again. And I hope they learned a few things this time around. I’ll keep my sign, just in case.
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