Participating in the 2017 Women's March last year after the inauguration as a student I felt like I was making history, but almost a year later, the signs, t–shirts, and pussyhats feel more distant than I would have guessed. Not too much—or at least as much as many would've hoped for—has changed since my friends and I sat in our dorm plastering poster paper with protests. President Trump is still attacking female politicians (last year it was Hillary Clinton, this year it’s Kirsten Gillibrand, among many others), and issues of immigration, climate change, and police brutality still persist.

This time last year, I was marching in response. But of course, it isn’t the only way to contribute. Musicians have released songs, writers have written books, and painters have created works of art reacting to Trump and his many policies. Nationally, fashion has been a crucial medium for protest art. 

Perhaps one of the biggest markers of the anti–Trump crusade is the pussyhat. Bright pink and handmade, pussyhats are “a symbol of support and solidarity for women's rights and political resistance." Pussyhat is a pun on pussycat, hence the hats catlike pointed ears. It responds to Donald Trump's "grab them by the pussy" comments. The color pink was chosen for its connection to women in order to reclaim the color traditionally used to commercialize femininity. But there is a discussion to be had about its inclusivity, especially regarding race and gender identity. Some trans women have declared it noninclusive because it correlates genitalia with womanhood, which is a harmful correlation for those who are trans or genderqueer. Black women have further concerns with the hat based on its pink color, saying pussies come in all colors and the classic pink caters to white women. In Philly, the official stance of the march is to not control what women wear, but to encourage everyone to educate themselves on these issues. 

Still, aside from the pussyhats, so many more women have designed graphic tees intended to send positive and inclusive messages. From quotes of famous women to witty retorts to the President’s tweets, the span of t–shirt designs is one (if not the only) positive coming from Trump’s election. Penn students themselves from the group We Are Watching created a t–shirt in response to the "grab them by the pussy" comment from Trump as well. 

Art and fashion can help us keep the mood lighthearted so we can persist. It’s tiring. I can’t help but wish I was already an old woman passing the torch and living in the glory of being an activist, even though I saw the older generations continuing to march for the same thing they’ve been fighting for for fifty years: equality. But, as the so–called future, I, and all the other young people, have to remember to keep the torch burning so we can pass it one day.


Comments

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.