Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hats Off to Pussy Hats


What's square and pink and marched its way into the lexicon of style? Did you say... a pussy hat? Right you are. The pussy hat began as a grass roots movement to make a point (or two) at the Women's March in Washington on January 20.


The pussy hat was inspired by some thoroughly disgusting banter spoken by Mr. Trump and unknowingly recorded. A few days after that video aired for all to see, his wife Melania wore a fuchsia pink blouse with a big bow to a campaign event. That particular style has long been called a "pussy bow". It's unknown whether Mrs. Trump chose it to comment on her husband's behavior.

Meow

Not sure where my head was at the time— reeling from the election, Thanksgiving, Christmas, new grandbaby— but preparations for the Women's March were beyond my radar. I knew I wouldn't be going to Washington or New York, and I truly had no idea the number of marches being organized, even the one in my city. Nor did I hear the click and clack of knitting needles or the silent running of crochet hooks as women across the country depleted our supply of pink yarn.


As video and photos streamed in on January 21, so did the sea of pink pussy hats. They had become a symbol of the March, which itself symbolized more than just women's rights. In the weeks following it's fair to say wearing a pussy hat makes a statement for those women (and men) with some deep-seated opinions about the state of our nation.

 
The stripped down pussy hat is basically a long rectangle stitched into a square. The "ears" appear  when slipped on the wearer's head. Myriad how-to instructions have appeared online. The Pussyhat Project  (https://www.pussyhatproject.com/) encouraged knitters to make multiples and send them to be distributed at the Washington march. The simplest could be knitted by a rank beginner on giant needles in a few hours. Others were more finely ribbed but none would be a knitting or crocheting challenge. You could even, pressed for time, make one from a length of pink felt.


Knitting and crocheting are traditionally women's crafts, often associated with something frivolous like gossip circles. In truth these have long been safe places for women to gather, share their thoughts and concerns, receive support and encouragement from other women. The thought is that anything handmade exhibits a level of care, and women care about their rights and all the rights that would seem to be of concern at the present time.

"So it is appropriate to symbolize this march with a handmade item, one made with a skill that has been passed down from woman to woman for generations."— The Pussyhat Project

Michigan State University has begun collecting pussy hats worn at the march for its museum as part of interest in what they call “craftivism,”, merging women's traditional domestic arts with activism.

To top it all a Maine-based artist, Abigail Gray Swartz, sent her idea for a cover to the New Yorker magazine. To her complete surprise the art editor responded, and her submission, a 2017 riff on WWII's iconic Rosie the Riveter, graces the February 6 issue.


What am I doing now? Furiously knitting a few pussy hats for friends and one for myself, of course. It's rarely ever cold enough to wear one in this part of Texas, but this ain't just about the hat.




6 comments:

  1. Love this, Michelle! Way to go!! Your Canadian sisters are on board!

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    1. Great to know, Sheila. And you have so much longer to wear a cute little knitted hat! PS I grew up in Cleveland... brrrr!

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  2. Thanks for the background information on the pussy hats. I too was not plugged into the march. I feel a little guilty and very thankful that so many sisters were willing to send a message to Washington.

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    1. You are welcome, and I hope the message will be ongoing.

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  3. Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour is pro-sharia Law, True Misogyny , and that is what Women hypocritically say they fight against? This was a total bitch fest. Ashley Judd, Madona, a total mess. Where was Bill Clintons name on those posters? Maybe I'm missing the "Sisters" thing.

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    1. Have to say I think you are missing a lot, but I respect your right to miss it.

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