Letters to the Editor | Pink Pussyhats should not divide feminists


It saddened me to see the opinion article “Pink Pussyhats problematic for populace” in The Daily Evergreen on Tuesday, which criticized the wearers of the political hat without any context. I say “without context” because I am the woman in the picture and my husband is the man. Our picture was taken during a rally on Jan. 20, which we attended to show our discontent with the current U.S. administration. During the rally, no one from The Daily Evergreen spoke to us. Though, it is obvious now, that our picture was taken.

The article feeds into an increasingly popular tactic that is meant to pit social justice groups against one another. In taking a position that the pussyhat is dividing feminists, the author Catherine Taylor, and The Daily Evergreen are engaging in a tactic called “horizontal hostility.” horizontal hostility is used by those in power to cause infighting in groups that challenge them in order to try and split them apart; thus, squashing any resistance. This tactic is being used a lot these days. You can hear it every time a politician dodges a question by saying, “Well, what about …” horizontal hostility and “whataboutness” are distractions meant to divide us. Instead of taking a deeper look at a social structure that advantages a very small swath of our population, those who are disenfranchised are pitted against one another for the crumbs that are left over. When you are fighting each other you have no energy left to question the hegemonic power structure that truly keeps inequity in place.

It is true what Kayley DeLong says about white female feminists. I am a cisgender, heterosexual, middle-class white woman. In many situations, I have privilege. For instance, I can attend political rallies, like the one I did on Jan. 20, with my family and friends without really worrying about the ramifications.

But I am also deeply committed to inclusive social movements, from the money I donate regularly to organizations I believe in to the hours I spend working for candidates I think will help institute the type of society I want to live in to the community groups I volunteer for. Feminism is not a fashion statement for me. But, if I need to take off the hat so I can be a better ally to women of color, the transgender community, non-binary individuals, and other people in this struggle then I will do so. But I ask that those who wish to be a part of this progressive wave take a step back as well and think less about these battles and more about the larger war. Let’s not let the powers that be push us apart. Let’s come together over the bigger issues that we are all facing as a collective.