The Pussyhat: Knitting a Grass Roots Political Action Movement

Knitting a Grass Roots Political Action Movement

Washington DC, January 21, 2017

Did you notice all the pink “pussyhats” in the photos of the Womens Marches this past weekend? They were hard to miss.

The Pussyhat Project inspired thousands of women.  Me included.

I dusted off my rusty knitting skills that had been dormant for at least 20 years and I made two pussyhats, one for me and one for my friend Karen.  My knitting inspired my daughters. Rya made pussy hats for four friends.  And Carla made one for her 7 year old daughter, Tallulah.

We sent iphotos back and forth and knitting instructions and advice.  Knitting pulled us together the way shared projects do.

What happened with us was just a small microcosm of what happened across the country and around the world.

Stitch by Stitch a Movement was Born

When I went to the yarn store to buy my pink yarn last week, I was surprised to find a group of women sitting around a big table, all making hats. I was welcomed as a friend.

All week, I knitted my pussyhats while I was riding the subway. On almost every ride, I encountered other women wielding their needles and pink yarn.  “Are you making a pussyhat?”, I’d ask.  They’d nod. And we’d smile at each other like co-conspirators, knowing that we shared core values.

By taking ownership of the word pussy that Trump had used in such a demeaning way, and infusing  pink, a color long associated with femininity, with a sense of collective power, and encouraging women all over the world to use and share their handicraft skill, a movement was born.

A Movement Based on Values

People made hats for themselves and their friends. They made hats to be given out at pussyhat distribution centers. Knitters put messages in their hats to share stories with the wearer of their hats. And recipients of hats wrote notes of thanks to knitters they didn’t know, creating a complex web of connection among women all over the world.

Thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of women had invested time and money to knit them.  They had given them to friends and strangers they trusted would treat them with respect, understanding the remarkable collective effort and strength they represent.

The pussyhat project embodies values many people hold dear… community, inclusiveness, generosity, creativity, and collective power.

With humor and wit, the young women who started the pussyhat project used the demeaning and ugly in the voice of Donald Trump to create a big and mighty movement.

Not Willing to Sell (Out)

When Karen and I got to DC for the march, pussyhats were everywhere. Handmade pink hats connected people in sense of common purpose.

As Karen and I were leaving the DC march late in the day, proudly wearing our pussyhats, a woman wearing a Trump hat asked if she could buy one of our hats for $20.

Neither of us was willing to sell.

Honestly, if she hadn’t been a visible TRUMP supporter, and if she had asked me to give it to her instead of selling it to her, I would have. I can easily make another. But I didn’t think that she would understand the significance of the pussyhats.

My pussyhat represents my values, and my values aren’t for sale. The pussyhats are symbols of our potential when we work together with honesty and integrity and hard work and shared values.

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Make a Pussyhat for Someone You Love

It’s not too late to knit a pussyhat. Make one now. Give it to your friend or your daughter or granddaughter and explain to them its significance. If you don’t knit, learn a new skill. Because stitch by stitch, action by action, resistance by resistance, we will weave our power together into a fabric that no politician will be able to stand up to.

Share your ideas in the comments below. Or, head on over to Facebook and share your ideas there.