a sea of pussy hats

Some folks are troubled by the pink pussy hats. Some are troubled, others are amused, or curious, or confused. A few are offended — not by the hats themselves, but by the pussy reference.

There’s no point in discussing the pussy hats unless we first talk about the Women’s March. First, it wasn’t a protest against Comrade Trump. It’s true that Trump was the spark that lit this fire and there were plenty of anti-Trump signs, to be sure. But while the anger at Trump is very real and cuts very deep, the Women’s March was not specifically or directly a protest against him. Had it been an actual protest against Trump, there would have been such a storm of righteous rage that the very earth itself would have been scorched. But, for the third time, this wasn’t a protest against Trump.

It was a rally and a march for women.

not-in-the-white-house

Now, the pussy hats. No, wait — we’ll come back to those in a bit. Let’s take a look at the people who attended the Women’s March. Or, rather, the Women’s Marches — because there were marches all across the United States. In fact, there were satellite marches on all seven continents. This was a planet-wide event. Aside from sharing the name Women’s March, as far as I can tell, the various marches all also shared a similar eclectic composition.

I can only speak directly of the march I participated in. There were smiling babies, and young parents trying to keep toddlers out of the mud, and grandmothers wearing pussy hats, and people singing, and a small gathering of cheerful grey-haired Wiccans wearing cartoonish witch’s hats, and a guy wearing a faded MOPAR/NASCAR jean jacket over a Stand Up for Standing Rock t-shirt, and a young woman in a wheelchair with a rainbow blanket around her legs, and people of every age and faith and color and a spectrum of gender identities and orientations so broad it required a significant chunk of the alphabet to enumerate them — and all of us talking and laughing and shouting and hugging each other and chanting. You’d probably see many of those same people at an anti-Trump protest; but they wouldn’t be smiling and laughing.

stand-with-planned-parenthood

Perhaps the most inspiring thing about the rally — about ALL the rallies and marches across the globe — was the way women took the insults made against them by Comrade Trump (and lawdy, there were a LOT of insults against women) and transformed them into positive symbols of resistance. It’s a sort of socio-political aikido, redirecting the momentum of an act of aggression and using it against the aggressor. He calls Hillary Clinton a nasty woman, they defuse the insult by embracing the title. It’s brilliant, really. It’s a gentle turning aside of an attack meant to wound, and turning it aside without excusing or forgetting or forgiving the attack or the attacker.

whole-lotta-pussy-hats2

And that brings us to the hats. Some folks questioned the use of pink pussy hats. Most of the criticism I’ve seen seems to be grounded in the notion that the hats themselves are supposed to be representative of actual vaginas. Since not all vaginas are pink and since there are a lot of folks who are lacking any sort of vagina at all, the argument is that the pussy hat is an unsuitable symbol. I get that. As a person without a vagina, I get it.

But I disagree.

families-wearing-pussy-hats

The pink pussy hat, as I understand it, is a response to Comrade Trump’s cavalier and offensive discussion about grabbing women “by the pussy.” The hats weren’t meant to be taken literally; they aren’t symbolically appropriate for every individual who participated in the marches. But the hats ARE a simple, easily accessible, highly visible, socially elastic device that indicate solidarity for the entire constellation of rights and causes that joined the orbit around the Women’s March on Washington.

Much of the beauty and power of the Women’s March is that it was inclusive. It wasn’t the ‘Stop the Pipeline’ march or the Reproductive Rights march or the Black Lives Matter march or the Save the ACA march or the Immigrant Support march or the ACLU march or the LGBTQIAPK march or the Religious Freedom march or the Climate Change is Real march — but all of those causes were made welcome and encouraged to join.

strong-as-hell

In my opinion, that makes the pink pussy hat perfectly appropriate. The same arrogance and contempt and ignorance and hostility that allows Comrade Trump to brag about grabbing women by the pussy is also directed at gay folks and scientists and Muslims and water protectors and union members. Trump (and his Cabinet of Nazgûl) assumes he has the right to grab everybody by the pussy, whether they have one or not.

But, again, this wasn’t a protest against Trump. It was an affirmative stand for the dignity of all people. It was an announcement made by a few million people around the world that we’re all going to support each other.

The pussy hat is optional.

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2 thoughts on “a sea of pussy hats

  1. What I find insulting and offensive is that Bill Clinton assaulted and raped women both while in and out of the White House and Hillary Clinton re-victimized them again to protect her husband and no one protested that? Why not? Is it because they are Democrats?

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    • Okay, this has absolutely nothing to do with the content of this post, but I’m sick enough of hearing this bullshit argument that I’ll address it.

      Consider this: Ken Start spent over four years as an independent counsel investigating President Clinton. Although his original investigation was limited to the Whitewater issue, Starr continued to expand his investigation to other matters, including the so-called TravelGate issue, accusations of billing oddities in Hillary Clinton’s law firm, the suicide of Vince Foster, the Paula Jones lawsuit, improper loans granted by the Madison Guaranty bank, other allegations of sexual misconduct, finally ending with the accusation of perjury for denying under oath about getting a blow job from Monica Lewinsky.

      Starr spend over four years and nearly US$80 million on the investigation, but aside from the fact that Clinton lied about getting a blow job, he wasn’t able to find any prosecutable evidence of any criminal activity — including the allegations that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted anybody.

      You think Starr didn’t t try really, really hard to find as many reasons as possible to impeach Clinton? You think he covered up evidence of crimes? Or just ignored them? Did Bill Clinton have trouble keeping his unit in his pants? Yes, absolutely. Did he sexually assault anybody? Four years and eighty million dollars worth of investigation says no.

      I’m betting that won’t be good enough for you, though.

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