Hello Rinku! I know that you are an enthusiastic knitter as well as a reader writer thinker doer. So I want to ask you about pussyhats. As a feminist knitter, I crafted over three dozen such hot pink cat ear hats that I gifted to friends and strangers, and my heart felt proud and amazed that our handwork showed up as a symbol of the crowds at the women's march., However, I just recently learned from a couple of women of color that they were offended by the hats, stating that they were oppressive and exclusionary. I was dumbfounded, but I am open to learn and committed to centering the experience of women of color. What say you about pussyhats. Thanks.
Maybe this isn't the brightest idea in the world, but what if we made pussy hats in different colors?
So true that a coalition's attention to message can prevent a lot of drama! But movement groups don't always get it just right (I'm remembering some Native activists feeling excluded by Black Lives Matter, since the percentage of Native youth killed by cops is even worse than for Black youth). The case with the Pussy Hat Project is that a couple of millennial age women artists came up with the idea of reclaiming girly hot pink, the color of Barbie and Susan B. Komen, and spread the word through the craftivist grassroots. No vetting by communications pros, though they were endorsed pre-2017 March by Linda Sarsour, not sure if they were discussed more broadly by the March leadership. Most of the twitter chatter condemning them since then has been from the right wing, linking hatred of Linda in particular and feminists in specific. Why this continues to feel important to me to figure out is how susceptible our movement is to being fragmented when differences arise, and what is the response of an ally who wishes to support to the diverse set of women on both sides. Thanks for taking some time to ponder this - I do see how it is inconsequential in the face of the racist attacks under the current regime.
Hi Kathy. Ah, I see. That's history I didn't know and I'll check out your page. I'll just say that the reaction I heard most from women of color was along the lines of "why do they all have to be pink? We're not all pink." It's really easy, in thinking up these symbols, to miss someone else's perspective on the symbolism, hence the need to have friends and colleagues of different kinds. I was at a Southern college recently that had a big founders' day celebration whose theme was "Party like it's (insert pre-Emancipation date that I can't remember)." Of course, the Black students were all on some version of "um, no party for us on that day!" Just sayin', a little attention to those unlike us can prevent a lot of drama.
Lots of discussion on this on my Facebook feed, Rinku - Kathy Partridge Since writing this, I have read up on the founders and their intentions - a Chinese-American and the grand-daughter of Jewish refugees. The controversy has focused on the white women who have responded to Krista and Jayni's call to action, and the critiques have misinterpreted the Pussyhat projects widely stated intentions of cat ears in girly colors.
Thanks for this question! will reply soon