More than 120 people gathered in the Attallah Piazza and in front of Memorial Hall March 8 for a march in honor of International Women’s Day.
A march scheduled for the same day was originally called the “Pussyhat Global Campus March,” but sparked controversy after some students called the march transphobic.
“If you go to this, you need to be supporting all women and not just white cisgender women,” someone wrote on a flier promoting the march, which was hanging up in the second-floor Argyros Forum women’s bathroom.
The writing on the flier also said that the “pussyhats” are transphobic, and encouraged people at the march to walk for people of color and transgender women.
A March 1 Facebook post by women’s studies professor C.K. Magliola on the event page, which has since been taken down, explained that exclusion was never the intention of the “pussyhats,” which are knitted pink hats with cat ears originally created for people to wear at the Women’s March on Washington the day after President Donald Trump was inaugurated.
Magliola wrote in an email to The Panther that although the march was still scheduled to take place, the “pussyhat” motif would not be used.
“Folks have knitted and shared ‘pussyhats’ and are welcome to wear them, but the ‘pussyhat’ turned out not be a good name or symbol for the campus march in terms of its actual spirit and objectives,” Magliola wrote.
A few people who attended the event March 8 still wore the hats.
A new Facebook page for the event called “March for Womxn and Femmes” encouraged attendees to “wear anything that connects you to your womanhood and or femininity.”
The day before the march on March 7, 15 students discussed the national women’s marches during a dialogue in the Cross-Cultural Center led by Chapman Feminists president senior Amanda Ball. Attendees discussed how the “pussyhats” are not a feminist symbol, but rather a statement piece for white cisgendered women.
Freshman creative writing major Deja Minor said that in her opinion, the Los Angeles Women’s March did not serve the purpose that a social justice march should.
“Yeah, (the protest) was peaceful, but it was very commercialized, and it was very much an event. What came out of it besides those god-awful hats?” Minor said during the dialogue.
The hats are also offensive, Ball explained to the group, because they were not created until Trump’s election, prompting people who wouldn’t otherwise call themselves activists to now consider themselves advocates of social justice –– a fight she said did not start with Trump.
“Where were you at the last Black Lives Matter march? Where were you when Michael Brown was killed?” she said.
Some students at the march chanted, “Black trans lives matter” and “Claim our bodies, claim our rights, take a stand, take back the night.”
After marching around the Piazza, students had the opportunity to speak.
Sophomore screen acting and peace studies major Jackie Palacios performed a poem she said was about “white feminism.”
“This equality you strive for is the hypocrisy you live by,” she said. “You have no idea the damage you can do to the people you think you can speak for.”
Sohaila Zivari, a writer who fled to Los Angeles during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, was invited to speak at the march by senior women’s and gender studies major Niki Black. Zivari said she was proud to see a peaceful response from the community.
“When we did these things at Tehran University we would be confronted by the police,” Zivari told The Panther. “I know that this is a small school and you’re in a more conservative area, so it is so important for people to know what’s going on everywhere. We have to be everywhere, and we have to educate.”