With 'Pussyhats' At Women's Marches, Headwear Sends A Defiant Message

Jan 22, 2017
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LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

If you caught a glimpse of the Women's Marches on TV or social media Saturday, you probably noticed a sea of pink, knitted hats with catlike ears. They've been dubbed pussyhats. And as NPR's Brakkton Booker reports, yes, it was a symbol of solidarity for women's causes. But it was also a defiant message.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) We will not go away. Welcome to your every day.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: Thousands marched through the streets of the nation's capital yesterday and eventually made their way to the White House. Jamie McGovern marched with her sisters, her baby daughter Helen strapped to her back.

JAMIE MCGOVERN: We decided that we just had to come and march. And my mom knit us all pussyhats.

BOOKER: McGovern acknowledges some may find the name of the hats vulgar. But...

MCGOVERN: I feel like we kind of had to take it back - make it a feminist word.

BOOKER: A 2005 video of Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women by their genitals inspired the hat's creation. Deepti Sethi marched with her mom and sister - all wearing the hats. She says it's empowering to reappropriate the word.

DEEPTI SETHI: I think sitting there and saying I'm wearing a pussyhat and not having it reflect something vulgar, something that you should shy away from.

BOOKER: Mom Hema Sethi jumps in with a message to President Trump.

D SETHI: We've got brains. We've got hearts. We've got everything else. You can't just reduce us to just a single anatomical element of our bodies.

BOOKER: At his inauguration Friday, President Trump spoke before a crowd wearing red, make America great again hats. On Saturday, protesters were united wearing pink hats with pointy ears.

Brakkton Booker, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.