I just read an op-ed about pink pussy-eared hats. You see, after the election, a few knitters suggested a show of solidarity for those marching in the Women’s March in Washington D.C. It is a little yarn nod to the now famous line about a different kind of pussy.
The author’s opinion was they were silly.
Before that op-ed was a spate of articles opining the pointlessness of wearing a safety-pin. In the last few weeks, more news articles highlighting the rift among the four million strong Pantsuit Nation.
What the fuck?
Some of us are trying to form a freaking coalition here, people. A super coalition of women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ, Environmentalists, Dog Lovers, Vegans, Vaccinators…anyone who feels their voice is drowned out by the voices currently in power. Why would news writers and bloggers, some with huge audiences, think it’s a good idea to get all uppity and start shaming people who are trying to get involved, in ways small and large?
I’m not talking about the people who are going to shout “Snowflake!” regardless. That’s a given. I’m talking about people who claim to be progressive.
Shut up already. If people want to wear a safety-pin, it’s not, as some posit, simply because they desire visible proof they aren’t a racist. Could it just possibly be because a lot of people feel hopeless and scared and this is a small way to do something? If there are those who are offended, wouldn’t it be more helpful if they could point folks in a direction where help is needed rather than shaming or mocking them?
Golly, we’re always telling folks to get involved and yet when they do, we shame them by telling them it’s the wrong way or not enough. On what moral high ground are we shouting from here? Because the view must be pretty damn good.
Knitting thousands of pink hats is not, by itself, going to stop the incoming administration from running roughshod over women’s rights. But it is certainly not going to do any harm. What good comes of adopting a holier-than-thou attitude about it?
This is why we never get anywhere, folks. We’re too busy arguing and shaming one another to actually do anything. Who the hell cares if a thousand women attending a march in DC, many of them marching for the first time in their lives, want to show a sisterly solidarity by wearing a pink hat?
There are articles theorizing that marching does no good. That protests do no good. Calling, letter writing, Meryl Streep. None of it is any good. Or it should be better.
What’s the alternative? Curl up in the fetal position and hope that the world doesn’t implode in the next four years? Not everyone is going to run for office. Not everyone is going to disrupt town halls, start a grass-roots movement.
Activism is not always chaining yourself to a railing or getting arrested. Sometimes activism is as simple as acknowledging something is wrong. Or reading. Or checking facts. Not everyone has the time, the freedom from economics, or even the courage to throw themselves in front of a moving administration in the name of protest. Yes, we need those people, we need them desperately. But we also need everyday people who are wiling to show that they are there to make a stand about something they strongly believe in. Whether that stand is a safety-pin or a pink hat or boarding a bus and traveling down to Washington DC to march with a hundred thousand others who feel similarly. Whether it’s writing a letter to their Congresswoman or making a phone call, boycotting a brand, or yes, even sharing something on Facebook.
Why would anyone want to throw a wrench into that by acting too cool for it all? Why would you want to sabotage those baby steps into something that could blossom into activism? Who knows if the girl who put a safety-pin on her backpack, knowing that she’s going to get teased mercilessly at school for being a snowflake, isn’t going to grow up to be a Senator? Who knows if the women who started the knitting project won’t take their next project global and donate the proceeds to women in need?
Back the fuck off, people. Perhaps then instead of shaming someone for trying to do something good we should collectively encourage them to take the next step on a journey of doing good.
If we want to encourage people to take part, the last thing anyone should be doing is making them feel silly, shaming them, or telling them those small acts of micro-activism don’t matter. Of course they matter.
We could all do better. White women need to listen to women of color because we are failing them, miserably. Feminists need to listen to civil rights activists, need to listen to Native American activists, and so on and so on. But we are never going to get anywhere if we don’t start somewhere. And it’s certainly not up to me to tell any other person where that starting point should or must be.