WOMEN

Thousands Are Knitting 'Pussy Hats' For The Women's March On Washington

Meow.

01/03/2017 01:32 pm ET

Hundreds of thousands of protestors are expected to flood Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017 to take part in the Women’s March on Washington, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. 

And thanks to a knitting project that has gone viral, thousands of them will be wearing bright pink and cat-eared “pussy power hats.” 

The Pussyhat Project, which launched over Thanksgiving, is the brainchild of two friends and recreational knitters: screenwriter Krista Suh and architect Jayna Zweiman.

The women were devastated by the election results and looking for ways to channel their grief. With Kat Coyle, owner of their neighborhood knitting shop, they designed a “pussy power hat” pattern ― an extremely simple hat that knitters, crocheters and sewers of all levels can whip up for themselves or for other marchers.

This accessibility is an essential component of the project, the women say. It’s not just about making a strong visual statement on the day of the march, or offering up a symbolic rebuke of Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” comment, though that’s definitely a factor. It’s also about giving people who aren’t able to march for physical, financial or other logistical barriers a concrete way to take part.

Everyone can participate,” said Zweiman who isn’t attending the the march because she is recovering from an injury that prevents her from being in large crowds. “We’re hearing from people who are saying, ‘I just sprained my ankle and I’m sitting here watching Netflix and it’s the best thing ever.’”

The co-founders have heard from women who tell them that knitting the pattern ― or any pink cat hat of their choosing ― has been a productive way of managing their election-related anger and grief. 

With just a few weeks to go, Suh and Zweiman don’t have an exact sense of how many pink cat-eared hats will be at the march. Partly, it’s because they’re encouraging people to give hats to marchers directly if possible, although they can also be dropped off at participating knit shops across the country that will get them to the march, or shipped directly to the Pussyhat Project. But it’s also because the founders say they’re more concerned with creating community than in reaching any specific distribution goals.

If they had to guess, however, they think anywhere between 30,000 to 100,0000 hats have already been knit, as more than 60,000 people have clicked on the “patterns” section of their website. 

“There’s a man who made 100,” Zweiman said. “We just launched a hat registry, which is new, but we’re seeing the average amount of hats is about seven to eight per person.”

Suh and Zweiman believe the project has struck a nerve because knitting is at once meditative and communal, giving women and men time to, say, reflect on what’s at stake for women’s health under a Trump/Pence administration and to connect with others in yarn shops and in classes.

“For me, a lot of the magic lies in [saying], ‘Hey women of the country, you might not think you’re politically active, but you’re already community organizing in your knitting groups and women’s groups, you just don’t call it that,” Suh said. “The Pussyhat Project calls it that, which is where a lot of the power comes from.”

“We hope,” she added, “these hats will become a symbol long after the march.”

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