‘DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S A PUSSY­HAT?’

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By Miles Raymer

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.

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