So, leading up to the women’s march, I know there was some disagreement or disdain for the pussy hats. I saw quite a few friends complain that they didn’t like the color (ugh pink, it’s so girly!) or they though that the ears were silly, and an asinine post from a guy that was like, ladies, this is why we don’t take you seriously.
But I also saw someone complaining that the pussy hats weren’t inclusive, because they were supposed to represent vaginas, and the color only represented white women, and it meant that transwomen couldn’t be included as women because they didn’t have vaginas. The explanation for the origins of the color choice, though was basically to reclaim a girly color that’s been derided, and I thought it was fairly obvious that the hats were a play on words, rather than a literal representation of vaginas (just like most women don’t have bright pink vulvas, most vulvas don’t have cat ears).
But now, post-march, I’m seeing a couple people really hammering this point. A friend shared a meme that was like, if you wore that those hats, your racist and transphobic. And another friend (acquaintance, really) keeps hammering the point that they weren’t inclusive, and says that a lot of WOC and transwomen were so offended that it turned them off marching. This women has also been posting more generally about how the marches weren’t inclusive and intersectional, and that while she marched, she did reluctantly because it was all white women like herself.
As a woman of color, this kind of bugs me, because 1) I love the hat, and didn’t want it to be a literal representation of the color of my genitals, and 2) I was at the same march she was. There were a shit ton of white ladies, but I marched with a few other women of color, and we ran into quite a few other women of color (and some men as well). We made an effort to give a shout-out to everyone we saw carrying a sign in Spanish (fairly common), or Arabic (less common, but there were a couple). But because my friends are light-skinned, if this women was near us (I didn’t see her), I doubt she would have classified them as WOC because they are light-skinned.
Anyway, it bugs me, but I don’t know if I’m overreacting or missing a larger point. One one hand, to me it seems like the people that keep hammering this point are white women looking for intersectional ally points, and I haven’t seen any friends who are WOC raise an issue with that hats. On the other hand, I don’t want to dismiss it if there’s some WOC or transwomen that really took issue with it, and this is signal-boosting a perspective I missed. One thing that makes this hard to discern for me, is that I’ve seen a lot of white women read one perspective, and then jump on that perspective to the exclusion of other voices.
An example would be the Shepard Fairey artwork of the women with the flag hijab—there was a post going around by a Muslim women saying she found it offensive, because of what the flag represents and the fact that the artist was a white man. A lot of white women shared it, and were like, this is so offensive, don’t use it! But the artwork is based on a picture of a Muslim-American who was proud that pictures has become an iconic symbol. There are differing perspectives, but often I’m seeing intersectional white feminists (is this a term? I feel like it should be), just take one perspective and assume it applies widely.