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Faster Pussyhat!

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Little known fact: Pink hats destroy feminist movements. This fact is little known because Petula Dvorak made it up. [Update – thanks to jamesjhare for pulling this plum from the WaPo.]

Pink pussycat hats, sparkly signs, color-coordinated street theater — all of it is gleefully in the works for the upcoming Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21.

And that scares me a little. Because all of this well-intentioned, she-power frippery can make this thing more Lilith Fair than Lilly Ledbetter.

Metaphail.

And the Women’s March of 2017 will be remembered as an unruly river of Pepto-Bismol roiling through the streets of the capital rather than a long overdue civil rights march.

To be clear – Dvorak is getting all worked up because some people started a project to make pink pussyhats for everyone who attends the march in D.C.

No one knows how many hats (or protestors) there will be. But Dvorak is convinced that the aerial shots of the march will be a big clot of pink, and that’s all anyone will remember.

This is serious stuff.

Dvorak has to spell it out, otherwise the reader might think This person can’t possibly be serious and go check the comics.

It’s about human rights. It’s about the way 51 percent of our nation’s population still gets less pay, less representation in elected office and in corporate corner offices, less access to health care, less safety and less respect that the other 49 percent of our deeply divided nation.

The important word is Still. Women are still struggling to get these things. And we are losing ground and it’s not happening because we’ve been walking around in pink hats. Blame may more appropriately be laid at the door of the GOP and its identity politics.

Case in point?

Bra burning. That’s the trope that folks have been using to dismiss feminists for nearly half a century.

In fact, no bra was burned at Miss America protests in 1968 and 1969. Feminists threw false eyelashes, mops, pans, Playboy magazines, girdles, bras and other symbolic “instruments of female torture” into a trash can. But the Atlantic City municipal code didn’t allow them to set it on fire

It would seem the Pink Curse has damned us already.

Bra burning didn’t happen, but some people believed it happened. And for reasons Dvorak doesn’t pause to consider in her mad dash to warn us of the perils of pink hats, some people have pointed to a thing that didn’t happen as a reason that women should be treated like half-humans. Similarly, a mighty tide of pink hats may or may not rush through the city next week. But if enough people believe it happened and decide that some women wearing pink hats means women should be treated like half-humans, then women are doomed. And the next generation of concern trolls will blame the non-existent pink hat wearers for inequality, rather than patriarchy and misogynists.

Another little known fun fact: Mohawk haircuts destroy the environment.

Dana Fisher, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, has been studying protests and political action for nearly two decades. And when she was in deep on climate change protests, she saw a hard-to-miss family: They all had mohawks, even the kid.

And despite the scientists, environmentalists and students trying to make serious points at the protests, all the cameras focused on the mohawk family. Everyone remembered the mohawk family.

And so the last spotted owl died alone in a trash can filled with bras and pink hats, the end.

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  • To be clear – Dvorak is getting all worked up because some people started a project to make pink pussyhats for everyone who attends the march in D.C.

    My wife will be there. Maybe she can get one.

    • Katya

      I plan to be there, and I never say no to a warm, fuzzy hat. Petula can just deal with cold ears.

      • lizzie

        No kidding! I can’t believe anyone could get bent out of shape over this. I mean, seriously, it’s a hat, for an outdoor protest in January! The horror!

        Of course I’m biased because I live in Minnesota, but seriously. The pussyhats look perfectly respectable. I see far, far sillier hats on regular middle aged workaday people on the 7:08am bus every morning.

    • Steve LaBonne

      My wife and I can’t go, but she knitted four pussy hats for friends who are going.

    • Jenna

      There are patterns available for knitted, crocheted and polar fleece versions! My hat is gonna be fleece, since I am making it, and I can’t knit and am horribly out of practice at crochet.

      I can’t make it to DC though, so I am marching at a much more local march in Orange County California instead.

  • Stag Party Palin

    If the pink hats were intended to get Mr. O. Shitgibbon and his drinking buddies to change their minds, then Petulant Dvorak might have a point. They aren’t and she doesn’t.

    • sigaba

      And a million Damon Linkers cried out “performative morality!” and were suddenly silenced.

  • Snuff curry

    This COOTIES, anti uterus-voting squad is as frightening as the essentialists. Women, whether they are inconveniently reminding people that they are women or that woman-coded shit is just fine (Caitlyn Jenner’s lipstick singlehandedly holding us back from the brink of hertopia or whatever) or are trying to mask evidence of their womanhood (“lesbian shitasses genderfrauding me” rinse repeat), however that manifests, are forever doin’ it wrong, forever distracting Real People from the Real Issues.

    • Katya

      It is almost as if “women’s rights are human rights” hasn’t sunk in.

      • Women’s rights are – Wait. Is that a PINK HAT?

        • Snuff curry

          Also, there is ample evidence to support the suspicion that handwringing about pink hats and mohawk families might be masking white women’s dread of too many blah women about. Not that we haven’t already crossed that subtext-to-text bridge.

        • rachelmap

          PINK HAT! is the new SQUIRREL!

      • Steve LaBonne

        “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

        • Katya

          “People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that distinguish me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

          • Jenna

            I have noticed some handwringing over treating prostitutes as people as well.

            • Origami Isopod

              On this blog, in fact, in the previous post about the march. Apparently it’s “too radical” to suggest that sex workers be protected from beatings, rapes, and murder.

              • Abbey Bartlet

                No, no, it’s just that we shouldn’t bring that up except in circumstances palatable to Republicans or something.

                -A. Bartlet, née BFG

          • Captain Oblivious

            Usually they just call me a bitch.

        • Warren Terra

          I always liked the subjunctive version to heighten the absurdity: treat women as if they were people.

          • sapient

            To be human is to be a prostitute, I’ve found.

            • The Dark God of Time

              “100$, Father, same price as downtown.”

    • keta

      The headline really says it all:

      The Women’s March needs passion and purpose, not pink pussycat hats

      Because Bog knows you can’t have both.
      Jesus wept.

  • Murc

    I see people worried about this kind of stuff all the time.

    In a way, it is encouraging, because it means they’re still in a sense innocent. They actually believe that adhering to middle-class standards of decorum and deportment will work, that the image they present is important. It is kind of nice that some folks still buy into the implied social contract of civility.

    And to an extent they may have a point. I seem to recall that during the civil rights era, protest organizers went out of their way to make sure everyone involved hit a certain threshold of respectability, because they wanted to establish a narrative of “we’re respectable citizens wearing respectable clothing and behaving in a respectable manner, and despite this we’re having dogs set us on and getting our heads cracked.”

    I dunno. It seems like there’s a fine line between “I’m a concern troll who is going to pick an utterly trivial reason not to give these people my support” and “I view a large part of this project as getting undecideds or squishes on-side, and that part of this project is handicapped by outrageous displays that make us look like crazy freaks.”

    I mean. The right-wing nutsos are going to paint you as crazy freaks anyway. They did so with the suffragettes. They did so with civil rights and gay rights activists, no matter how respectable. (Folk called W.E.B DuBois and Booker T. Washington, hardly anyone’s idea of radicals, dangerous subversives who ought to be imprisoned or executed for the good of the nation. Susan B. Anthony was declared a moral threat to the American family.) But there’s a wide, mushy middle they’re ostensibly going after here, yes? No?

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      but in those days most everybody had and wore serious dress-up clothes- suits, dresses, etc- hell, I go to the bank now and *everybody* in the place is wearing polo shirts. I go to a wake and the 70 year old woman in front of me in line is wearing jeans and flip-flops. Waitstaff in pretty decent places with tattoos- and this is a farm town in hick Iowa

      so yeah, there’s a mushy middle, but no the clothes etc wont matter. It only takes one outlier anyway

      • People were what we would consider more formal, but there’s also the fact that large wardrobes for everyone except the upper class are rather recent. People had a few items of clothing that they wore a lot.

        And if one really looks of the photos of large protest gatherings (versus things like boycotts) not everyone is wearing a nice button down shirt and tie.

    • Katya

      She might support the goals in some ways, but no, she’s not “authentically invested” in them if she writes this shit.

      • sapient

        It’s concern trolling and buzz killing.

        People are getting psyched about going to Washington in solidarity with people who are horrified by Trump. They’re using their creative power to give their sisters (and maybe brothers) a feeling of unity.

        People always have to shit on that. It’s like the safety pin war. Everyone knows that safety pins aren’t enough. But they’re a way of saying, “ummm, I didn’t vote for that”. Nothing is wrong with that, so what’s wrong with these people that they have to ruin the joy in everything.

    • NJC

      Would the 1963 March on Washington have benefited from ironic posters reading, “Once You Go Black, You Never Go Back”?

      Rather than trying to be smart about messaging, it just seems like latter-day Yippie self-indulgence (and likely to be as effective at stopping Trump as the Yippies were at stopping Vietnam).

      Maybe things are so polarized these days that it’s more about energizing one’s supporters rather than trying to draw in people on the fence. Still, I’m inclined to share Murc’s concern/question.

      • Jenna

        The pussy hats are being handcrafted by people’s moms, aunts, grandmas, sisters and daughters….by people who knit, crochet, or sew.
        In pink.
        So, the problem is that we look like freaks or radicals? Or that we look too harmless to take seriously? Or that we aren’t wearing serious suits and heels? Or that we should all be wearing….
        What exactly would work?

        It’s a handmade hat. People who make them for others are encouraged to tag them with why the women’s March is important to them. To me, they are so very cool, and I find the distress over them really perplexing.
        And then I remember that women are always” doin it rong “

        • Murc

          And then I remember that women are always” doin it rong “

          That’s one of the reasons I framed my comment as a hesitant question.

          Because its like… it seems to me, and this is just from my outside observations, that there are a lot of people who just will never approve of the way any marginalized group does activism unless it satisfies every item on a fussy and nebulous checklist. Those people are either concern trolls, or at best (and this is a WEAK at-best) don’t actually want to be an ally but also don’t want to admit that to themselves.

          But by the same token, there also seem to be people who take messaging seriously, and really don’t fucking want serious protests to have to deal with, say, the unwashed white guy in dreadlocks with an “OBUMMER SOLD US TO THE BANKS” sign. Or the lady in a full-body vagina outfit deliberately designed to be as gratuitous as possible. (Those aren’t fictional examples. I’ve met both those people. Neither of them were bad people.) They don’t want THAT to be on TV.

          So it seems like this is, genuinely, incredibly complicated and deeply contextual.

          • Jenna

            It’s a pink hat with kitty ears. I’m amazed that it’s such a big deal that it’s even being discussed.
            Mine turned out really cute! I think I will wear it around town after the March!
            I know I like it better than a certain red ball cap.
            (Red ball caps and fedoras may never recover from their respective associations, and I used to LIKE fedoras, back when I associated them with Indiana Jones)

          • jpgray

            It’s been brought up in this thread, once by me and earlier in by wjts, but let’s remember the Bonus Army. World-war-winning veterans are just about your ideal demographic for conservative respectability, and yes, they were quite successfully painted as cranks, commies and criminals.

            All the nose-thumbers are best derided by making the protest as big and well-organized as possible – variety and individualism come with that today – the ideal isn’t Nuremberg!

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              part of me is really surprised people are fussing about pussy hats after the last year or so of watching the deplorables and their king in yellow

            • EliHawk

              Were the Bonus Army really successfully portrayed that way though? It’s generally thought that Hoover’s military assault on the camp was the final nail in the coffin of his reelection campaign, and FDR was praised for treating the 1933 Bonus Marchers far more peaceably.

              • Captain Oblivious

                But the point is that Hoover’s actions were popular then with the same minority of assholes who these days would think Muslims should have to wear yellow crescent moons.

                The actual numbers are not as relevant as their influence on the behavior of elected officials.

                • EliHawk

                  But the point is that Hoover’s actions were popular then with the same minority of assholes who these days would think Muslims should have to wear yellow crescent moons.

                  But they weren’t popular with the public at large, which voted him and his party into oblivion for 14 years. Which was the whole point. There were certainly some people who approved of trashing the Bonus Army, but that didn’t make it unsuccessful. Because those people lost.

              • Judas Peckerwood

                I always thought that the first, second and final nails in Hover’s coffin had something to do with the freaking Great Depression. I could be wrong.

              • jpgray

                @EliHawk:

                There’s a small problem with your analysis, namely the fact that FDR won election by avoiding the hell out of the issue outside of some careful opposition to paying out (as I remember).

                I can’t find it online, but I’m pretty sure after the election, when Eleanor Roosevelt went among the protestors after they returned in 1933, she at one point very patiently explained to the press that she didn’t see a squalid den of sloppy-dressed thugs, didn’t fear for her life, etc.

                Also she basically ducked the secret service to do this which is another note in the “Eleanor Roosevelt was amazing” file.

                • EliHawk

                  Yeah, but sending his wife is also a note in the FDR was clever file. He fudged around (Like he did on EVERYTHING. People who valorize FDR, Lefty Hero, forget that he was the Slick Willie of his time, famously Sphinxlike in taking positions) but promised them (and got them) into the CCC. Did veto an early bonus in 35, but it was overridden in 36.

                • jpgray

                  Yeah that’s exactly correct – I mean, from what I know of it the ’32 campaign was very similar to 2008 in its vague hopey changey “hey we’re no deficit spending big government Hoover-types!” vibe.

                  It’s pretty clear that, in those circumstances (sample size of… two?), stubbornly whaling away against “gov’t budgets are like family budgets” prejudices is unnecessary at best and electoral stupidity at worst. Be a fresh, optimistic coathook for people’s fantasies about what should happen and what’s wrong – your campaign work is half done.

            • NJC

              I obviously agree that Nuremberg isn’t the ideal and there’s value in variety & individualism–though at some point they might be at odds with protests being well-organized, or they might be ineffective (though as Murc says, it’s genuinely a tricky question, both complicated & contextual).

              For instance, you say you want the protest to be as big as possible, but you also think people with whom you disagree should simply be derided. Reflexive derision might energize some people and get them to be more active, but it’s also going to turn off others (and not just the people at whom the derision is directly aimed).

              Lastly, the Bonus Army’s attire was neither here nor there. It was a different time and being a WWI veteran wasn’t as obviously a signal that one was a respectable conservative (as evidenced by Russian war vets who helped topple the Tsar and German vets who helped topple the Kaiser and other vets who helped the Nazis disrupt the Weimar Republic).

              • jpgray

                Yeah historical analogies are always fraught with potential for error given epochal changes in… almost everything. But on the narrow ground that the baseline popular perception of what’s wholesome isn’t the best predictor of how a protest group that ticks those boxes will be perceived, I think it holds up.

                I mean, “Trump that Bitch” is hopefully nobody’s idea of respectable, but it takes a lazy media narrative to really identify the group with its inevitable minority of cranks. “Find and elevate the weirdos” is yet another aspect of lopsided press narrative bias as applied to conservative/progressive rallies. It’s easier to slip lazily into that Where’s Weirdo? track that’s been dug in over and over for progressive protests already.

                So if it’s not going to be fair anyway, and such a strict dress-code level of message control will serve to turn people away, I say denying people their harmless hats is not worth dodging immediate dismissal from like four columnists nobody reads.

          • Do you have a knitting pattern for the full-body vagina catsuit? With kitty ears?

            • Amendment:

              Do you have a knitting pattern for the full-body vagina catsuit? With kclitty ears?

          • msdc

            I remember during the protests of Bush’s inauguration (a stolen election that seems almost quaint now) or the early Iraq war protests, there would always be one group of people dressed up as some endangered elk or whatever, and they would get the news coverage every. single. time. (To be split equally with the twelve flag-waving counter-protestors, of course.) Thanks for trampling on the core message of the protests, assholes.

            I wish the left had more tactical and message discipline in its protests, and don’t object to those who call us out for it. On the other hand, I know some observers will never be satisfied with any form of protest until the issues under protest have already been settled. They value consensus more than progress.

            I don’t have a problem with the hats because the hats are a symbol of the core message of the march–that women won’t be marginalized or have their rights taken away. But I better not see any fucking elk costumes.

            • Abbey Bartlet

              there would always be one group of people dressed up as some endangered elk or whatever

              I read that as “transgendered elk” and was impressed by how forward-thinking the protesters were.

            • Hogan

              Thanks for trampling on the core message of the protests, assholes.

              How do you keep them out?

              • Porkman

                You value the objective of the protest over any individual protester’s presumed right to free expression.

                i.e. “You have a right to protest… but not with us.”

    • permafrost

      that’s good advice for navigating a hostile media environment. that might be where we’re at. but our media have gotten so much more sophisticated with their game it might not be sufficient today. the toadies in the media are playing against the people 24/7.

    • cpinva

      “I see people worried about this kind of stuff all the time.

      In a way, it is encouraging, because it means they’re still in a sense innocent. They actually believe that adhering to middle-class standards of decorum and deportment will work, that the image they present is important. It is kind of nice that some folks still buy into the implied social contract of civility.”

      the only thing they’re “worried” about is that no one will take them seriously. if taken seriously, that deflects attention away from the real issue: the gender constituting over 50% of both the world’s and the US’ population has access to way less than 50% of the world’s resources and power structure.

      who knows, given the advent of “Viagra world”, a re-staging of Lysistrata may well be in order, taking into account the fact that most of the men with the most power are well into their “golden” years…..

    • LeeEsq

      Nearly every political movement is letting their Individuality shine though. Its not like the Republican primaries, conventions, or Trump rallies are filled with respectable citizens from Michigan and Illinois acting in a low key manner. The people who attended Tea Party rallies tended to wear some pretty bad home made American Revolutionary era garb. Liberals made fun Tea Party garb or the name Tea Bagger a lot and it didn’t do one thing to hinder or harm the Tea Party.

      Gary Johnson got a respectable amount of votes for a Third Party candidate even though the Libertarian convention contained a lot of freaks and loons according to Slate that would scare away ordinary Americans. I had libertarian friends, one of whom works for CATO, who thought that the Libertarian Party really needs to do something about the freaks if they want political success. It didn’t seem to hurt them.

      There isn’t much evidence that these things are going to hurt the Women’s March against Trump. It might be more about rallying the troops than anything else.

    • It is kind of nice that some folks still buy into the implied social contract of civility.

      And to an extent they may have a point

      {…}

      there’s a wide, mushy middle they’re ostensibly going after here, yes? No?

      In principle, yes. In practice, pink hats are nowhere near the zone of things we need to be concerned about in terms of either the public relations or the ethics of protest unless we want to hamstring and demobilize ourselves into utter paralysis.

    • Emily68

      People used to dress us for protests & marches back in the old days. From the Free Speech Movement, Berkeley, 1964.
      Note coats & ties and the skirts.

      • jpgray

        Yeah but… if you look at photos of people waiting for the Beatles to show up at their hotel in ’64, the guys are in coats and ties, and the girls are in skirts. A crowded street of pedestrians in ’64 would show skirts and coats and ties. And even some HATS would be hanging around!

        Contrasted with today, bit of a different world, no? It may be a problem that our Platonic ideal of “universally-viewed-as-dignified protest” happens to coincide with that era more than that the people protesting now are somehow less dignified or committed (though some will be).

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          the Beatles themselves, in ’64, dressed more formally than bankers do now

        • Porkman

          Maybe the lack of general formality in the modern age means that formality at protests would be even more effective?

          • ΧΤΠΔ

            Taibbi suggested as much about the 2004 RNC protests.

      • thebewilderness

        We were not dressed up. Those were our street clothes. There were dress codes that were rigidly enforced by school administrators, employers, and police officers.

        • LeeEsq

          Somebody really needs to write a history of the great in-formalization of clothing that occurred during the 20th century. One reason why Mad Men was popular was that a lot of people liked the styles of the show, at least when it was in the early 60s rather than late 60s. My parents were teens at the time and they couldn’t figure out why people would like to live in a world where you had to dress up on nearly every occasion.

  • all the cameras focused on the mohawk family.

    GRRRR! this makes me so mad I want to pretend a rubber hose is an iron bar and bend it in half! Yeah.

    This writer is so stupid she doesn’t understand its the corporate media at fault, not the people with kooky hairdos!

    • Hogan

      Nonsense. A responsible environmental movement would have stuffed that family into the trunk of a car and dumped them in the woods before the cameras showed up.

    • thebewilderness

      She understands, like so many before her, that her job depends on not understanding.

    • Hogan

      Just as the Women’s March on Washington is not just for women, mansplaining is not just for men.

  • Snuff curry

    [response to trolling]

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I’m impressed. Never saw one disappear like that

  • N__B

    That clip gives me an urge to eat at Monk’s Tom’s diner.

  • ASV

    Women are always doing it wrong. Even other women know this!

  • veleda_k

    I’m still not over her sneering at the “tent cities” of the Occupy movement. Apparently, Dvorak thinks that Occupy would have succeeded if only they had never tried to occupy anything.

    • N__B

      Serious protesters bring quonset huts.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        just not the ACME models. They had a tendency to collapse at the *most* inopportune moments

        • N__B

          Let’s face it: anvils were the only ACME product that worked as expected.

      • efgoldman

        Serious protesters bring quonset huts.

        Or get hotel rooms….

    • EliHawk

      Eh. The fact that the Occupy protests devolved into mostly being about actually holding the territory with the tent cities (to the point the main impact of the DC one was to turn McPherson Square into a fetid mud pit, that then had to be repaired and rebuilt with our tax dollars) was one of the real problems with the movement. The Tea Party became about driving actual Congressmen to the right. Occupy became about “Don’t kick me out of the park, man.”

      • msdc

        Yeah, criticizing Occupy for ignoring (and in some cases actively dismissing) political organizing is not exactly a point against Dvorak.

      • jpgray

        I think we need to acknowledge here that the Tea Party was founded by organized political money for the express purpose of pushing around the GOP. By sucking up all the attention, the funded group co-opted a lot of genuine anger at our financial system and channeled it into that darker purpose. I have no doubt there were a lot of white older people in tricorn hats going “wait, aren’t we missing something?” when no blame was attributed to the banks by the leaders supposedly representing them. But for them, this was the only culturally acceptable game in town for expressing their anger.

        Occupy was more truly a spontaneous disorganized expression of dissatisfaction that was not channeled by any moneyed organizing groups in the larger organized progressive world, most of whom either distanced themselves from it or used it as a chance for low-commitment individual grandstanding. It’s not a big surprise it was disorganized and went nowhere given that.

  • Snuff curry

    What about this article suggests she’s dismissive of or not invested in the march?

    Her fervent wish that it be something other than what the organizers want? Her sealioning bullshit asking if the ladies could be and look more serious? The risible insinuation that dourness and compliance might generate more positive media coverage? Her utter lack of specificity about what she’s demanding other than that participants express “passion” without singing, waving signs, or wearing colors she doesn’t approve of, that they not sully up the delicate, feminine symbolism by utilizing time-tested methods of race- or class-based activism? That she doesn’t understand how protests work or that protestors can enjoy themselves and the company without betraying the Cause (which she can’t articulate but would like instead to remind us of the existence of Betty Friedan)?

    As usual, you’re out of your depth and have nothing to offer but JAQing off motions. “Fox hole partner” is surely begging something.

    [erm, more response to trolling, fuck shit et al]

    • sigaba

      What’s Sea Lioning?

      • jim, some guy in iowa
      • Jenna

        http://wondermark.com/1k62/

        Ok, your link does include this comic, but, still. Have a link to the example. :)

      • keta

        What’s Sea Lioning?

        You’ve been “sea lioned” when a sea lion grabs hold of the spring salmon you’ve hooked on rod and reel and proceeds to strip off line at a an alarming pace. It usually involves a comical, high-speed chase of said sea lion (with the spring salmon in its gob) in an effort to retrieve as much line and/or gear as possible before the seal lion breaks you off.

        More common is being “sealed,” which is similar to the above but generally the seal heads for the sea bottom where it will loop your line around rocks to break you off.

        Some have been “killer whaled” in the same fashion, and I myself have had a guest (while guiding) have a coho salmon he was badly misplaying scooped up by an Orca passing through with the rest of its pod.

        I know, I know. All fisherman are liars except me and you, and I’m not so sure about you…so here’s some video of just such an incident.

        *Highly comical when you watch it happening to someone else, pure tragedy when it happens to you. The worst part is after the sea lion breaks you off, it will dine right there on the surface in front of you, ripping the salmon apart by thrashing it side to side in its mouth.

      • EliHawk

        When you think you’re totally going to invade Britain despite not having little things like “A Strong Navy” or really even “Boats.”

  • wjts

    If the Bonus Army had only kitted themselves out in mess dress (rather than messy dress), Hoover wouldn’t have sicced the troops on them.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    The “serious” radical left of the 1960s rejected feminism because it was concerned with women’s issues — you know, girly stuff. It was bullshit then and it’s bullshit now.

  • permafrost

    The Lilith Fair/Lilly Ledbetter sound-based bullshit nug set off my Maureen Dowd hackles bigtime.

  • Yankee

    Can’t deconstruct the Master’s house with the Master’s tools; needs new tools. Go, womenfolk!

    • Thom

      I know this is heresy, but I always thought that was a really terrible metaphor. Because in fact you can use the master’s crowbar, sledgehammer, saw, and screwdriver to deconstruct his damn house.

      • msdc

        It’s also a complete (and, by this point, almost universal) misreading of the original Audre Lorde quote. She was talking about a feminist conference in which black feminists and lesbians were limited to a single panel thrown together at the last minute. The “master’s tools” in question were the ignorance and exclusion of other kinds of experience.

        Somehow leftists and academics have interpreted it to mean that anything even remotely effective reeks of hierarchy and must therefore be replaced by new and unworkable governance structures or abandoned in favor purely symbolic displays. It’s become a cynical put-down people use to close down action, not inspire it.

        • Thom

          Ah, thanks very much.

          • msdc

            Glad that was helpful. If anybody’s interested, the full context for Lorde’s quote is here, and former Occupier Micah White has a good take on it here.

  • Bruce B.

    We had, in the Iraq War protests, definitive proof that nothing the left does or refrains from doing can compel good coverage. Or, heck, coverage at all. And then we got it again just this last year with the Clinton campaign. Anyone persisting in thinking that sufficiently dour, earnest behavior will get worthy coverage needs to look up from fiction and dream journals to see reality. They can even read some Gramsci about it.

    • Serious protestors in business attire lack authenticity, passion

      • efgoldman

        Serious protestors in business attire lack authenticity, passion

        They could all go buy suits in the Brooks Brothers boys department.

      • Porkman

        They only lack authenticity to those who already agree with them.

    • msdc

      I don’t know, I kind of feel like the Iraq war protests were a casebook in how to repel good coverage. Too much carryover from the WTO protests, too much festival atmosphere, too many puppets and posturing black bloc assholes, absolutely no message discipline.

      The Clinton campaign is quite another matter, you’re right.

  • efgoldman

    Honest to Betty Friedan.
    I am a very old, very cranky, very white guy, and I think volume is what counts here. I see that whatever DC authority has received 1200 bus parking requests (vs 200 for the :::retch::: inauguration the day before).
    And that doesn’t count the locals, like my daughter, who is marching with friends.
    And the people in other cities, including Boston, where mrs efg is marching.
    I’d go too, but I’m not physically up to it.
    All of this whining about “donnnn’t proootest that” is a load of crap.
    Go. March. Be numbers that the media, the Republiklowns, and Apricot Asshole can’t ignore.
    Are there bound to be some “bad optics” that some of the media will glom onto? Sure.
    But multiple millions (I hope) of women in dozens of cities will send exactly the message that we want.

    • efgoldman

      (Edit window closed)
      mrs efg’s grandmother marched for women’s suffrage.
      Maybe to do it right, the marchers on the 21st ought to wear ankle-length shirtwaists, with corsets underneath, button shoes, and of course formal hats, and carry fur muffs to keep their hands warm.
      And discreetly mumble in protest.

      Or maybe not.

      • Jenna

        Interestingly, before I discovered the pussy hat, I was still planning on wearing a hat. I have a couple that are vintage twenties looking, and if it wasn’t going to rain(Orange County California) I was planning on wearing the peach straw one, with the ribbon flowers.

        Considering the time of year, most of us will probably be wearing coats, and sturdy shoes, and looking respectable enough.

        I am still considering making ribbon rosettes in suffrage colors and in planned parenthood pink.

      • Abbey Bartlet

        Maybe to do it right, the marchers on the 21st ought to wear ankle-length shirtwaists, with corsets underneath, button shoes, and of course formal hats, and carry fur muffs to keep their hands warm.

        And in return get beaten and force-fed.

      • Hogan
      • Dagmar

        After watching the Russ Meyer trailer, I’m trying to think of a theme involving Cutty Sark and switchblades.

    • Karen24

      I’m marching in Austin, wearing a pink hat I knitted. Because the world needs funny hats right now, and it’s a visible symbol of my support for the goals of the March. Because everyone needs to know that I support this, even the small number of people who don’t know my politics. Uniforms are potent symbols: think of red poppies for Brits, Canadians, and Aussies. Keffiyehs. God help us, think of black or brown shirts and ‘fashi’ haircuts. The world needs to see how many people oppose Trump and his minions, and if pink hats with kitty ears does that, then more pink fuzzy hats!

      • efgoldman

        I’m marching in Austin

        Any idea how many people are projected to go? Is there a big presence expected from the University?

        ETA: What about other large TX cities? Dallas/Ft Worth? Houston? San Antonio?

        • Thom

          The local paper predicted 20k. The university is just now cranking up, but I assume there will be a good number of students and faculty. Don’t know the story re other TX cities, but my guess is that Houston, at least, might also have a march. In Austin, there is also a protest planned for the 20th.

      • sapient

        Yes. Thank you!

      • Solar System Wolf

        I”m almost done knitting a pussy hat for my daughter to wear when we go to the Denver march, but at the rate I knit, I probably won’t have time to make one for myself. I’ll just wear my Colorado flag hat. My son wouldn’t be caught dead in a pussy hat (13 is a touchy age), but he’ll be with us.

        • Jenna

          I could never figure out knitting. I’m impressed by people who can keep track of all that and make the loops actually connect.
          My hat is sewn out of fleece.

        • efgoldman

          My son wouldn’t be caught dead in a pussy hat (13 is a touchy age), but he’ll be with us.

          Just the fact that he wants to do means that parents are doing something right. Let him be an adolescent boy.

  • jpgray

    It would be better if they all wore business skirt suits.

    It would be even better if they were all uniformed veterans.

    It would be even betterer if they were all uniformed MALE veterans!

    It would be even betterest if they were all uniformed male veterans who fought a grand victory in a world conflict and were denied their due!

    What’s that? They would be, and were, still dismissed as cranks, communists and criminals?

    Hmm, maybe getting people together is bettererest than organizing an internal hat police to restrict participation only to those possessed of someone’s(?) idea of respectability?

    • Dagmar

      The Bonus Army tried that and got trampled.

  • Snuff curry

    Expressing oneself at a protest through song / dance / knitting projects / witty placards?! Someone fetch me my second-best pearls to sacrifice through performance art.

  • randy khan

    If she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to wear one. That way, we’ll be able to tell that she’s Serious.

    Also, I’m guessing she’s never attended a lefty protest march. The hats could well be one of the milder expressions of non-conformity. (Of course, my views on this are shaped by my attendance at a gay rights march in D.C. in the early 1990s, so YMMV.)

    • Davis X. Machina

      Pro tip — the front row of the march is what matters. Side shots of a march, no matter how large, don’t read right.

      A handicapped person is always good.
      Couple of children.
      Clergy in their away uniforms.
      Grandmother(s).

      I’ve been to demos where that’s all there was, and it still looked good in the paper.

      • randy khan

        Exactly – there are two photos that will show up everywhere. That’s one and the other is some kind of overhead shot of how big the crowd is.

  • xaaronx

    Fear of a pink hat.

  • I’m all for well crafted public displays that effectively get the message out. People can argue back and forth over what’s going to a more or less effective attitude. That’s Ok. If the Women’s March isn’t to your taste, there’s plenty of other stuff you can do.

    What I can’t abide is when that crosses the line into concern trolling and tone policing. Way to try to demobilize resistance! And frankly, trying to ensure that only things that won’t offend anybody or possibly be taken wrong wrong by large swathes of the media is a mug’s game. We do that, we might as well just surrender because large numbers of people are going to take offense at any protest whatsoever.

    Sure, people will do things I don’t approve of. I reserve the right to denounce stupid or wicked things that people so or do in “protest”. But wearing pink hats is so far from either of those categories, and seriously, dudes, trying to win over people who will write off women’s rights because women wore pink hats at a protest is a lost cause.

    • “People can argue back and forth over what’s going to be a more effective form of protest”

  • Just noticed Dvorak didn’t link to her article on Twitter, which makes me think she knew it was bullshit and didn’t want to get slaughtered by a thousand smarter writers over there…

  • UncleEbeneezer

    But can Men wear them? It hasn't been made sufficiently clear to me so my participation/support of the marches and the overall cause are in grave danger. Won't someone think of the Cis/Het White Man for once?? Pfft...

    • Davis X. Machina

      There’s still time. Knit a camo one.

      • randy khan

        Fuchsia and dark pink. It could work.

      • Hogan

        Out of steel wool. How fucking manly is that?

  • tsam

    Oh good-now we don’t have to check with the sexist pricks to find out what type of protest is acceptable to them. Remember, they set the terms for you. It’s for your own good.

  • Davis

    Since I agree with nearly everything said here, I don’t need to add anything; but that trailer was awesome. Didn’t Pauline Kael use that title for one of her collections?

  • Lexisaurus

    You used to get this a lot in lesbian and gay activism– the idea that we would get farther without the B and the T and the Q in our coalition. “Oh noes, my serious rally would be ruined if some drag queens showed up to blow bubbles!” But a gay man in a suit is still just another queer to the other side anyway. By trying to be so respectable, you leave behind the most vulnerable and creative parts of your coalition and your self. You’re not buying space to be free and joyful; you’re just creating a new straitjacket of gender norms for yourself. It’s self-defeating internalized shame disguised as pragmatism.

    • randy khan

      The gay rights march I was in in 1992 was a great cacophony – everything from people dressed nice to drag queens to leather guys in chaps and not much else to topless lesbians. And, you know, in the end all anybody did was count how many people were there.

      The people who don’t like this protest wouldn’t like it no matter how it might be conducted. My response to them, honestly, is “So what?” (And, really, if the big critique is about pink hats with ears, that’s about all the response they deserve.)

      • Porkman

        And gay rights didn’t win shit until the messaging changed from “let’s all be fabulous” to “Your unassuming boss/best friend/child/teacher/etc. is a totally normal shit who just happens to love in a different way.”

        I don’t want to deride the passion and the sacrifices of the early activists, but being gay didn’t become ok in the popular culture until being became boring and ordinary.

  • AdamPShort

    I wish the people who are always criticizing street protests would be clearer about what they think street protests are for.

    I’ve been around street protests both as an organizer and an attendee, my whole life. I’m not sure what exactly street protests are for. I think there’s value in a show of strength. I think protests are a really good way to meet people who are doing interesting and useful (not always!) things and to learn about various parts of the electorate and what they care about. And frankly it is something to do when you don’t know what else to do. Keep those organizing muscles from atrophying.

    But many criticisms of protests seem to be dinging them (and us, the people who organize them) for not accomplishing things they have no hope of accomplishing anyway. Street protests are a very limited tool, and the range of choices available to the people organizing is often less than people imagine.

    You try to get people to show up, make sure there are enough garbage cans, and try to have a coherent enough idea of what the protest is about that it doesn’t get drowned out by Maoist weirdos talking about chemtrails and chanting about the Jews.

    • The entire point really is to say You’re doing it wrong. Critics of protest will never provide a realistic blueprint for How to do it right because they don’t care.

      • N__B

        I’ve always assumed that they believe that there is no legitimate protest because authority is always right. They reject liberals in positions of authority because the liberals look for consensus and are therefore authoritying wrong.

      • Porkman

        Have a policy position that you can advocate for as opposed to just something to be against.

        Have designated spokespeople and brief protesters beforehand on how to find them and direct the press to them.

        Give an opening speech with 3 points and lead a call and response so that any random protester who is interviewed is more likely to maintain message discipline.

        Have a website prominently displayed on signs.

        Distribute literature that keeps on message.

  • Lizzy L

    Political action: You’re Doing It Rong.

    Excuse me while I point and laugh, and perhaps throw a tomato in the direction of this nonsense. This Dvorak person is one of the Villagers (TM) (thanks, digby) who thinks that marches and other forms of political action need to be managed in a very serious fashion, or else the Very Serious People in Washington who manage our lives won’t respond appropriately. Pink hats “undercut the message.” There’s actually a dress code for marches, and if we violate it, the VSPs get annoyed and won’t respect us in the morning.

    Hint: they won’t anyway. They want us all to go away, Katie, and it doesn’t matter what we wear.

    Washington Post, you can do better than this.

    Full disclosure, I hate pink and will not be wearing a pink hat when I march in Oakland. I will wear whatever I feel like wearing. Probably a blue hat, I like blue.

  • scibrarian

    I will be there with my mother and daughter and all of us will be shamelessly sporting pussyhats. They have already been commissioned and acquired.

  • Roger Ailes

    Petula should change her name to Boudicea. I can’t take her seriously.

  • Dagmar

    I think it’s brilliant. How can Trump respond with a Twitter Storm without talking about grabbing women by the pussyhats?

  • Where the hat started:

    The Pussy Hat puts Atwater Village shop owner in the political and fashion spotlight

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