1. The numbers
Last weekend, a record number of Americans — the overwhelming majority of them women — took to the streets in big cities, small towns and everywhere in between in a sort of blanket protest of our new president and what he stands for. The numbers alone are staggering: Los Angeles and Washington DC hosted the biggest crowds with low estimates of half a million apiece; there were at least 400,000 in New York City, 250,000 in Chicago, 200,000 in Denver and another 175,000 in Boston, based on the low-end estimates of attendance numbers. In all, almost 4 million took to the streets on Jan. 21 — one in every 100 Americans. It may have been the largest single-day protest in American history — the numbers are still rolling in.
2. The hats
The pink toboggan with kitty-cat ears became an instantly recognizable identifier among the protesters, signifying defiance of the president and his grabby ways. And while it’s likely that stores are full of the pink pussy hat by now, just about all of the hats worn at the Women’s March were handmade, knitted by legions of supporters in a neat sociological twist that managed to both reject commercialism and embrace the crafting movement.
3. The celebs
Only something of this magnitude could bring Madonna and Cher together — an Instagram photo shows the two of them sharing a moment backstage at the DC rally. Janelle Monae, Scarlett Johansson and Katy Perry addressed the crowd, while social media found Lena Dunham, Amy Poehler, Julia Roberts, the Gyllenhaals and other A-listers in the streets.
4. Social media
The entire movement grew out of a Facebook group — like the Arab Spring before it. Patterns for the pussy hat were shared through social networks; chat rooms and IMs scheduled IRL meet-ups for the likeminded; every moment and angle of it was documented through Facebook, Snap, Insta and whatever else the kids are using. I was particularly moved by an a capella group comprised of women from different cities who learned an original song and rehearsed together online before creating guerilla flashmobs on the National Mall. Check out icantkeepquiet.org to see what I mean.
5. The power
Before they even had the right to vote, American women provided the muscle behind Prohibition, enacted in 1919, and then carried that momentum until the 19th Amendment granted women the full rights of citizenship — on paper, anyway — a year later. Women are a major political force in this country and have shown they can affect big changes. I’m eager to see what’s next.
6. It’s still happening
As of Monday, the movement seems to be continuing through social media, and there’s already a website, womensmarch.com, outlining a campaign for the next 100 days.
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