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Blog

Thoughts, musings, questions and inspiration from the desk of our head rebel. We write about creativity, growing a small business, how-to tutorials and popular trends in handmaking.

Why Pink Pussy Hats?

Jill Maldonado

Over the weekend, I had the privilege and honor of joining the Women's March in Washington D.C. Since getting back home, I've been catching up on coverage of demonstrations that happened all over the country and around the world. For the most part, what I'm hearing from others and in the media accurately reflects the power of the experience, but there has been some criticism of the feminist demonstrators wearing pink pussy hats, saying that they're frivolous bonnets that distract from the issues at hand.

As a long time crafter and craftivist, I want to provide some background that might help people understand the power behind the pink pussy hat.

The Pussy Hat Project mobilized and organized hundreds of thousands of knitters around the world, drawing on the existing power of the age-old handworking circles where knitters, crocheters and quilters have, for generations, gathered to find community, support and friendship.

There is a long history of women gathering in the margins of a repressive society to do the work that needed to be done to support and protect each other, their families and their neighbors. Gathering at knitting circles or quilting bees, women shared information and supported rebellions while outsiders ignored their "gossip circles" and discounted their power. An important example of this are the quilts that women made carrying secret messages for the underground railroad.

A hand knit pussy hat represents a hundreds years old craft that has been passed down from generation, to generation to generation, woman to woman to woman.

Why Pussies?

Women, whether trans or cisgender are mistreated, discounted and disempowered in our society. The pink pussy hat is a symbol that our bodies are ours, not to be judged, not to be legislated and not to be grabbed. We do not need to step away from our femininity in order to be powerful. We can reclaim it, own it and be proud of it -- in whatever way that looks like for us.

When you see a photo of demonstrators in a sea of pink pussy hats, you are seeing more than just those women -- you are seeing the hundreds of thousands of other women whose handwork supported us -- the women who could not march, the ones who don't feel comfortable shouting and carrying signs -- they offered their shoulders for us to stand on so that we might be more visible.

That isn't frivolous. That is feminism.

P.S. I was proud to wear a Pink Pussy Hat knit by my mother. Thanks Mom!