‘DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S A PUSSYHAT?’
Looking at photos of the women’s marches in cities around the world that happened Saturday, two things stand out. One is the sheer number of people that turned up, whether in “coastal elite” cities like Washington, New York, and L.A., or in deep red states like Tennessee, Missouri, and Idaho. The other is how many of them were marching in pink hats: a knit cap with two points at the top to suggest cat ears, made out of bright pink yarn. They’re called “pussyhats.”
A 29-year-old screenwriter in L.A. named Krista Suh came up with the idea and pushed the concept, along with a knitting pattern, to make it happen.
Pussyhats are intended, at least on one level, to make people chuckle. After all, there’s that big, groaning pun right in their name. But they also serve a more serious function: to remind people of Donald Trump’s infamous hot-mic reverie on the joys of serial sexual assault, and how women’s rights are still under serious threat.
They’re also part of a long and important partnership between style and political protest.. The sans-culottes of the French Revolution used rough work clothes as a symbol of resistance against aristocratic excess. Suffragettes countered the stereotype of feminists as frumpy man-haters by intentionally dressing as stylishly as possible. Black Panthers transformed berets and leather into revolutionary chic. Pussyhats, each made by hand by a member of a volunteer army of knitters, each showing its maker’s hand by subtle variations in style and technique, demonstrate how a unified call for change can include a multitude of different voices. They demonstrate that it’s possible to assemble a populist movement driven by something other than our worst instincts. I don’t think I’ll ever necessarily like them, but it’ll be good to see them just the same.
Pussyhats are part of a long and important partnership of style and activism.