More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the Women’s March in D.C. on January 21 to remind Trump and his administration that the women in this country are paying attention and that we won’t go backward when it comes to our rights. Thanks to two recreational knitters, Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, as many of them as possible will be outfitted with pink Pussyhats to commemorate the occasion.
The Pussyhat Project seeks to equip as many marchers in D.C. as possible with pink cat-eared knit hats to both make a visual statement and represent those who cannot march in-person. Knitters from around the country can whip up a “pussyhat” and send it along to the nation’s capital, where a feminist will be outfitted in it.
The co-founders chose pink because of its typical connotation with the feminine—and qualities like compassion and love which are derided for being weak but, in reality, are powerful. “Wearing pink together is a powerful statement that we are unapologetically feminine and we unapologetically stand for women’s rights,” the founders wrote on one of the original knitting patterns.
As for the name? It is, of course, a play on the word “pussycat”—but also a reference to our President-Elect’s derogatory comments about women that came to light before the election. The hats will come together to make a powerful, visual statement —a sea of pink “pussies” marching together. Pussy, it seems, does indeed grab back.
In launching the Pussyhat Project, the co-founders created a meditative and communal activity that serves as a mindfulness practice as well as an organizing opportunity. “We are hearing from participants that they are connecting through knitting circles, workshops, family, friends, and social media,” Zweimann told Ms. “People who are housebound are joining the movement. I have even connecting with a long lost cousin who will be wearing my hat at the march!”
Each pussyhat carries a story, many of them moving and deeply personal. There are women who are unable to march sending a piece of themselves to a marcher. There are grandmothers and mothers using their craft to outfit their children, carrying on a tradition of both craft and protest. There are even people sewing hats with fabric from a deceased loved one’s stash—a fitting way to pay homage to activists who are no longer with us.
Equally as powerful is the excitement and momentum these hats are building up before the march. As a knitter and sewer myself, I have been able to make over 30 hats to bring with me to hand out at the march, but that’s nothing —there is a man who has made over 100! The accessibility of this project—designed especially with beginners in mind —makes it the perfect way for anyone to get involved.
Having a project such as this has given activists a chance to do something positive in the midst of the dark cloud hanging over the country after the election. According to Zweiman, “truckloads” of hats arrive daily.
If you would like to join the Pussyhat movement, there is still time. Knitting, crocheting and sewing patterns are all available for free on the website, and there’s still time to mail them to D.C. before the march. (You could also send them with a marcher or bring them with you if you are marching!)
If you didn’t get the crafty gene, but you need a hat, the organizers are suggesting connecting with other crafters on Instagram using the #pussyhat or #pussyhatproject hashtags to see if someone has hats they are looking to give to a marcher. You can also check with your local feminist organizations and local yarn stores to see if they are a pick-up spot for marchers needing hats.
So, what will happen to these hats after the march is over? The organizers hope they will become a symbol of protest and power for a long time afterwards—but if wearing pink cat ears to the office isn’t your thing, or if your home climate is too warm to make hat-wearing practical, you can always donate them to a women’s shelter to ensure their lasting impact on women everywhere.
Ashley Lauren Samsa is a high school English teacher and freelance writer in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. She lives there with her husband, daughter and two dogs. When she gets a spare minute—which isn’t often—she knits and sews and protests.