Unifying yet dividing: voices of pussyhat maker–wearers who participated in the 2017 Women’s Marches
© 2020, The Author(s). On January 21, 2017, several million protesters took part in the “Women’s March on Washington” and its more than 400 sister Marches held in cities throughout the U.S. and across the globe. One enduring image of these Marches was the (often pink) pussyhat. In this qualitative study we examine broader issues of inclusion and exclusion within craftivism and take a closer look at the way craftivism supported, and potentially detracted from, its intended purpose as a unifying symbol of the Marches. From a dataset of 511 surveys distributed and collected online, 71 “maker–wearers” were identified and investigated for this study. While our overarching question focused on the role of craftivism related to the inaugural March and the pussyhat, we seek to understand not only the voices of craftivists, but also the voices of marchers who reported negative and/or controversial associations with the pussyhat. Building on previous findings that the majority of marchers we surveyed perceive the pussyhat as an anti-Trump symbol that represented women’s power, strength, and solidarity, a small number of our respondents and emergent voices in mainstream media have indicated concerns about potential racism and trans person exclusion represented by the pussyhat. We conclude that even as the pussyhat is recognized as a unifying symbol, it is simultaneously representative of exclusionary, potentially divisive practices within both craftivism and feminism. As awareness of the pussyhat’s problematic symbolism is spreading, new conversations have spawned about intersectionality and the implementation of more inclusive practices.
Malcom, Nancy L.; Martindale, Addie K.; Paulins, V. Ann; Hillery, Julie L.; and Howell, Alexandra, "Unifying yet dividing: voices of pussyhat maker–wearers who participated in the 2017 Women’s Marches" (2020). Recreation, Sport Pedagogy, and Consumer Sciences Open Access Publications. 10.