The Daily Evergreen

Pink Pussyhats problematic for populace

Symbolism in feminism can be unifying, but focus must remain on inclusive equality and social action

People+rallied+together+wearing+pink+pussyhats+during+a+protest+of+the+Trump+Administration+on+Jan.+20.+Pink+pussyhats+have+been+criticized+by+intersectional+feminists+for+not+being+inclusive+of+women+of+color+and+trans+women.
People rallied together wearing pink pussyhats during a protest of the Trump Administration on Jan. 20. Pink pussyhats have been criticized by intersectional feminists for not being inclusive of women of color and trans women.

People rallied together wearing pink pussyhats during a protest of the Trump Administration on Jan. 20. Pink pussyhats have been criticized by intersectional feminists for not being inclusive of women of color and trans women.

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

People rallied together wearing pink pussyhats during a protest of the Trump Administration on Jan. 20. Pink pussyhats have been criticized by intersectional feminists for not being inclusive of women of color and trans women.

CATHERINE TAYLOR, Evergreen columnist

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Designed with the intention of uniting women in the fight for equality, the pink Pussyhat has quickly become the topic of an intense debate among feminists.

At the 2017 Olympia Women’s March, the knitted, crocheted and sewn caps collectively created a sea of pink throughout the streets of the state Capitol as well as in cities across the country.

“The Pussyhat is a symbol of support and solidarity for women’s rights and political resistance,” according to Pussyhat Project.

But now feminists are starting to ditch the pink hat due to how unexpectedly problematic they have become.

The argument against them starts with the individuals who find the hats to be vulgar and distasteful. Most of the real distaste for them, however, stems from how they don’t include transgender women, non-binary women and women whose genitals are not pink.

Kayley DeLong is a senior comparative ethnic studies major and queer studies minor who believes the pink Pussyhats do more damage than good.

“One of the major problems of our generation’s work is trying to dealign from neoliberalism and capitalism and trying to deconstruct the commodification of movements,” DeLong said. “Stop putting on the hat, and start putting in work.”

Delong would love if everyone fighting for this matter was unified and in complete solidarity, but the last thing she wants is exclusionary solidarity.

Being a feminist has become increasingly socially desirable, and DeLong wants to see people shift away from materialistic items such as the Pussyhats and feminist shirts to begin handling this matter with the importance that it truly deserves.

“You’re always going to have an imperfect platform, that’s just something you’re going to have to come to terms with,” DeLong said. “[But] it should never be imperfect because you value your own comfort over someone’s existence.”

Individuals have been hosed down, pepper sprayed, assaulted, imprisoned and even killed over this matter, and Delong no longer wants to see people using these marches and the term ‘feminism’ for their own personal gain. She wants to see people on the front lines as allies and activists who’re giving everything to fight for the equality that every individual is entitled to.

“Your feminism ain’t shit if it’s not willing to take shit,” Delong said.

Delong can’t help but feel an overwhelming influx of emotions when she sees white women wearing the Pussyhats because she believes many of them take for granted the privileges they have. Indigenous, black and transgender women have spent years fighting for their rights without the comfort and security white women feel with police escorts during the marches.

Alyssa Cloy, a first generation pre-nursing freshman, disagrees with Delong on this matter. While Cloy has a rather conflicted standing on the specific use of the hats, she has firm beliefs on what should be the main focus.

“I obviously don’t want anyone to feel purposefully left out, but all this inner attacking is dividing us and making our position look weak,” Cloy said. “If we want to get our message across and be taken seriously, we need to need to look like a united front.”

As a Hispanic women, Cloy has experienced firsthand prejudice and questioning of her capabilities based off of her ethnic background and gender throughout her entire life.

“Wear the hats, wear shirts that say ‘feminist,’ cover your stuff with stickers and pins that say ‘The Future is Female,’” Cloy said. “Make it known that you’re feminist so that people actually realize how many of us are out there.”

With a topic as delicate as this, I don’t believe there’s a single solution to the issues that have arisen from the pink Pussyhats.

“With all that’s happening in the world, we have so much more to focus on than the hats that truly weren’t meant to exclude anyone, but rather to make a statement,” Cloy said.

When it comes to choosing whether or not to wear a pink Pussyhat, I hope individuals take a minute to decide if they’re truly putting it on for the right reason. If you want to throw one on for social clout, then just stay home. Put one on only if you’re willing to stand with and for black, Hispanic, Asian, Indigenous, non-binary, and transgender women who have to deal with the worst of the inequality.

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Pink Pussyhats problematic for populace