Revisiting the Pussy Hat

Salon.com

Just prior to the January Women’s March on Washington, an event that turned out to be far more than just a March on Washington, I published a brief article voicing my objections to the “pussy hats” which many women were planning to wear for the occasion. I won’t go into it in detail here, suffice it to say that from my point of view, pussy hats were not sending the image of strength and power that would have been my preferred message to the incoming administration. So the brief blog post was all about me and my opinion of pussy hats in that particular context.

Me and my opinion managed to piss off a number of people; I was even unfriended on Facebook by a couple of my younger relatives. No matter; I have a lot of young relatives; I can spare a few.

Just this morning, while leaving through my paper copy of The Nation, to which I subscribe, I came across an advertisement for something called the Dissent Collar. Although I am not a person who is given to wearing her heart on her sleeve, I am a person who is curious about the sorts of things that are available for people who do desire to wear their hearts on their sleeves… or on their heads or their chests or wherever. So I checked out the ad. This is what it said at the top: “Did you know that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a special collar she wears when she dissents from a Supreme Court opinion? (She also wore it the day after Trump got elected.)”

Below the quote was a darn good cartoon style rendering of the Justice wearing this particular article of apparel. Now this,” I thought to myself as I viewed the piece, is a fine way to get across a point without saying a word. It had the exact opposite effect on me that the pussy hats had generated, offering the possibility of making a strong statement without uttering a word; a statement, additionally, that would just ‘be’ there, hanging in the air, constantly present, an unavoidable force, like a shadow of incipient power currently biding its time.

It was my husband who pointed out to me that this Dissent Collar was the sort of sartorial statement that I must have been hoping for from the women who had marched. He could not have been more right; if only I had known about it at the time.

The Dissent Collar which is currently being marketed is a far cry from the one the Justice has worn. It is much smaller and it is more of symbolic reference than it is a potent statement and, considering that we are not amassing for a public march every day, this is actually a very useful thing as the collar could be worn to work, commuting, wherever, and be a quiet yet constant reminder of resistance. The ‘collar’ also comes in a pin form. At full size though, the piece worn by Justice Ginsburg, presents a formidable front very much resembling armor.

To my mind, life-sized representations of that collar, (especially as it would also have shown support for all the rights which Justice Ginsburg has championed), would have been the perfect image to have dominated that tremendous event — and, trust me, it would have dominated (even if it had been crocheted) because it would have linked all that incipient female energy to an influential woman in a place of power.

Just sayin’.