Politics & Policy

Feminists Are Ditching ‘Pussyhats’ Because They’re Racist and Transphobic

Attendees at the Women’s March on Washington, January 21, 2017. (Reuters photo: Brian Snyder)
These objections are ridiculous.

More and more feminists are now ditching those pink, anti-Trump “pussyhats” on the grounds that they’re actually racist and transphobic.

According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, many activists have concerns that the hat “excludes and is offensive to transgender women and gender nonbinary people who don’t have typical female genitalia and to women of color because their genitals are more likely to be brown than pink.”

Honestly? This is so stupid that I don’t even know where to start.

As for the color issue, the Pussyhat Project (yes — that’s a thing) states on its official website that the hats’ pink color has nothing to do with “genitals” — it’s simply that the color pink “is considered a very female color representing caring, compassion, and love.”

In other words: This complaint is ridiculous, and based on an objectively inaccurate assumption. (Of course, to be fair, many social-justice activists would actually consider the claim that pink is “a very female color” to be an equally offensive explanation. For example: A campaign at Syracuse University last year encouraged students to file a report on campus if they were to see any signs that were “color-coded pink for girls and blue for boys,” calling such material “abhorrent and intolerable.” I’m actually kind of shocked that an organization as progressive as the Pussyhat Project didn’t know this.)

As for transphobia? Well, first of all, the website addresses that:

Some people have questioned whether the very name “pussyhats” means our movement is saying only people with vaginas can be feminists. No way! Trans people and intersex people and people with any genital anatomy can be feminists and wear Pussyhats™. Feminists who wear Pussyhats™ fight transmisogyny and support ALL women.

Second of all, people should take a step back and remember what the significance of these hats was in the first place. They were intended to be in direct protest to President Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” comments in the Access Hollywood tape. President Trump didn’t say “grab female-identifying persons by whatever genitals they have”; he said “grab ’em by the pussy.” These are specific hats, inspired by a specific comment, and I just have to ask: Have we really reached the point where “specific” is just not even allowed anymore? Everyone is different, so it would make sense that the way in which we express ourselves won’t always be the same.

In our culture, whenever someone feels excluded, it seems that the impulse now is to bash the thing they’ve been excluded from and demand inclusion. I understand that no one wants to feel left out, but this approach is missing a huge opportunity: An opening to create your own thing, one which might possibly encompass the interest of others who are feeling excluded as well. The truth is, exclusion doesn’t always mean hatred; sometimes it represents a simple, small difference.

I understand that no one wants to feel left out, but this approach is missing a huge opportunity.

There’s no reason why people who feel compelled towards the anti-Trump Pussyhat can’t rally alongside people who are anti-Trump in another kind of hat, and the fact that I even have to say that makes me very sad for the future.

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