Searching for the right hat

Another example of how not to amplify support for your cause: Pensacola Women’s March on Facebook:

Trigger Warning and Content Warning for comments:
Transphobia, Cissexism, Racism, mention of Sexual Assault, Genital Mutilation, Misogyny and Trans-Misogyny.

The Pink P*ssy Hats represent a very concentrated and thus, exclusionary sect of feminism that ignores, neglects, and ultimately harms the fight for global women’s liberation. The entire concept is based around the idea of biological essentialism and shared womanhood (Mia McKenzie, Black Girl Dangerous): two incorrect ideas that women are all on the same level despite conflicting classes, races, sexualities, etc. and are also bound by “the power of the vagina”. This is a very popular concept developed and expanded upon during the second wave of feminism, usually called “radical feminism”. This type of feminism, though hugely successful in terms of reproductive justice, ultimately emphasized a mistreatment of transgender women that continues today. Though some transgender women do choose to have Genital Reconstruction Surgery, many do not, and should not have to to prove their being a woman. The right to self-determination, a concept that all feminists must get behind, allows transgender women to be women. Thus, not every woman has a vagina, and with the right to self-determination existing for transgender men and non-binary transgender people as well, not every person who has a vagina is a woman. The Pink P*ssy Hat reinforces the notion that woman = vagina and vagina = woman, and both of these are incorrect. Additionally, the Pink P*ssy Hat is white-focused and Eurocentric in that it assumes that all vaginas are pink; this is also an incorrect assertion.

The Pensacola Women’s March organizers understand that this idea was a knee-jerk reaction to the heinous, sexist, misogynistic Trump administration, but it is also just that: a knee-jerk reaction, not fully thought out. Therefore, we ask that march goers refrain from wearing this hat and instead, pick an alternative headwear that focuses on collective women’s liberation for ALL women: transgender women, multinational women, disabled women, queer women — the most marginalized. It is only through the centering and leadership of these groups that women will be liberated — not through exclusionary white feminism, which the Pink P*ssy Hat is indicative of.

The Pensacola Women’s March team will be removing all forms of hate speech that they encounter in an effort to promote a safer environment for all women.

Let’s discuss that. The idea appears to be that feminism made a big mistake from the outset by…well, by being feminism: by seeing women as an oppressed class and working to end that oppression.

There’s a lot that’s strange about that idea. To pick out just one – why is it only feminism that is accused of this? Why are other oppressed classes allowed to name their oppression and their class while women are told that’s “mistreatment”?

To pick out another – how can women organize to end their oppression if they can’t name themselves?

To pick out a third – this claim that feminists think women are ‘bound by “the power of the vagina”’ is nonsense. There’s some rhetoric about pussy power and so on, but that’s because of entrenched fear and loathing that is entangled with misogyny and male supremacy and all the rest of it; it’s not a literal belief in “the power of the vagina.” Again, feminists should not be ordered to stop using rhetoric to counter fear and loathing.

Image result for pussy hat

Updating to add: A trans friend of mine left this comment on the post:

This was anti trump protest in the most graphic way possible on television. I can’t see how anybody who is against his illegal reign would be offended . Only thing I can conclude is some these folks allegedly opposed to pink hats are agents of a GOP fifth column. When the right wants to wreck something , what better than to set it up to look like an attack from the left. Nixon used those tactics too.

I think that’s all too plausible.

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