Pussyhat

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Sewn and knit pussyhats being worn on a plane to Washington D.C.

A pussyhat is a pink, knitted hat created in large numbers by thousands of participants involved with the United States 2017 Women's March. They are the result of the Pussyhat Project, a nationwide effort initiated by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, a screenwriter and architect located in Los Angeles, to create pink hats to be worn at the march for visual impact.[1]

In response to this call, crafters all over the United States began making these hats using patterns provided on the project website for use with either a knitting method, crocheting and even sewing with fabrics.[2][3] The project's goal was to have one million hats handed out at the Washington March.[3] The hats are made using pink yarns or fabrics and were originally designed to be a positive form of protest for Trump's inauguration by Krista Suh. Suh, from Los Angeles, wanted a hat for the cooler climate in Washington, D. C. and made herself a hat for the protest, realizing the potential: "we could all wear them, make a unified statement".[4] One of the project founders, Jayna Zweiman, stated "I think it's resonating a lot because we're really saying that no matter who you are or where you are, you can be politically active."[3] Suh and Zwieman worked with Kat Coyle, the owner of a local knitting supply shop called The Little Knittery, to come up with the original design. The project launched in November 2016 and quickly became popular on social media with over 100,000 downloads of the pattern to make the hat.[5][1]

Name[edit]

The name refers to the resemblance of the top corners of the hats to cat ears and attempts to reclaim the derogatory term "pussy", a play on Trump's widely reported 2005 remarks that women would let him "grab them by the pussy".[6][7] Many of the hats worn by marchers in Washington, D.C., were created by crafters who were unable to attend and wished them to be worn by those who could, to represent their presence. Those hats optionally contained notes from the crafters to the wearers, expressing support. They were distributed by the crafters themselves, by yarn stores at the points of origin, carried to the event by marchers, and also distributed at the destination.[8] The production of the hats caused reported shortages of pink knitting yarn across the United States.[9][10][11][12] On the day of the march, NPR compared the hats to the "Make America Great Again" hats worn by Trump supporters, in that both represented groups that had at one point been politically marginalized; both sent "simultaneously unifying and antagonistic" messages; and both were simple in their messages.[13] Pussyhats were featured months later on the fashion runway.[14]

Racism and Transphobia Charges[edit]

Although, for some women, the pussyhat represents women's empowerment, for others, it symbolizes racism (not all vaginas are pink) and transphobia (not all women have female genitals).

Although Suh says that the hat was never intended to reflect the idea that "women's issues are predicated on the possession of the pussy," critics argue that it is exclusionary, and Suh herself admitted, "“I think ‘pussy’ refers to the female anatomical part."

Professor Cael Keegan, who teaches women, gender and sexuality studies at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, said the hat's reference to pink vaginas is suspect. “We know that any time feminism starts centering people based on anatomy, that gets kind of dangerous for trans people,” she said. She also pointed out that not only "cisgender women," but also transgender "are fighting for autonomy over their own bodies." The hat's allusion to the vagina also ignores the fact that some transwomen opt against gender-affirmation surgery. The pussyhat also suggests that only cisgender women are raped, Keegan added, which is far from true. In fact, she explaiend, "A lot of the reasons [transgender women] are attacked is because they do not possess that piece of anatomy.” [15]

Elle Hearns, a black transgender activist and a former organizing director of Black Lives Matter, criticized the hat for dividing people on the basis of sex and gender, maintaining, “Anything that is not elevating the conversation around the many identities of people in this country is not one that services [sic] the equality or the liberation or the freedom that people are pursuing." [15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Our Story". Pussy Hat Project. Archived from the original on September 23, 2017. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  2. ^ "Main website page". PussyHatProject.com. Archived from the original on January 24, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c Shamus, Kristen Jordan (January 14, 2017). "Pussyhat Project is sweeping nation ahead of the Women's March on Washington". Detroit Free Press/USA Today. Archived from the original on January 14, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  4. ^ Kahn, Mattie (January 17, 2017). "The Pussyhat Is an Imperfect, Powerful Feminist Symbol That Thousands Will Be Wearing This Weekend in DC; The women behind the controversial cat-eared phenomenon explain their thinking". Elle. Archived from the original on January 21, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017. Festooned in cat ears and crafted from hot pink yarn, the hats are the creation of Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, friends who wanted to come up with just one more way for women to announce their opposition to Donald Trump's election.
  5. ^ Garfield, Leanna (January 18, 2017). "Thousands of women will wear pink 'pussy hats' the day after Trump's inauguration". Businessinsider.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  6. ^ Keating, Fiona (January 14, 2017). "Pink 'pussyhats' will be making statement at the Women's March on Washington". International Business Times UK. Archived from the original on January 15, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  7. ^ "'Pussyhat' knitters join long tradition of crafty activism" Archived January 21, 2017, at the Wayback Machine BBC News. January 19, 2017.
  8. ^ McGough, Annelise (January 20, 2017). "The Creators of the Pussyhat Project Explain How Craft Projects Are Protest". Fast Company. Archived from the original on January 20, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
  9. ^ Ravani, Sarah (January 17, 2017). "'Pussyhat Project for Women's March causes run on pink yarn" Archived February 2, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  10. ^ Brodeur, Nicole (January 10, 2017). "Pussyhat production causes run on pink yarn" Archived February 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, "Seattle Times".
  11. ^ WWMT Staff (January 13, 2017). "Craft stores struggling to keep pink yarn in stock ahead of Washington Women's March" Archived February 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, "WWMT West Michigan".
  12. ^ DeNardo, Mike (January 7, 2017 ). "Women to Don Knitted Pink “Pussyhats” During Inauguration Weekend" Archived February 24, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, "CBS Philly".
  13. ^ Kurtzleben, Danielle (January 21, 2017). "With 'Pussyhats,' Liberals Get Their Own Version of the Red Trucker Hat". NPR. Archived from the original on January 22, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  14. ^ Friedman, Vanessa (February 26, 2017). "The Pussy Hat Comes to the Runway". Archived from the original on August 1, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Compton, Julie (February 7, 2019). "Pink 'Pussyhat' Creator Addresses Criticism Over Name". Retrieved February 8, 2019.

External links[edit]