I honestly thought we weren’t going to be having this conversation now. Which, yes, is fucking naive of me, isn’t it? I really thought after last year people were going to quietly retire their pussyhats, having gotten the maximum symbolic use out of them but also having heard (eventually) the criticisms from trans women, trans men, and WOC that, you know, not all women have vaginas, not all people with vaginas are women, and not all vaginas are pink.
In the interest of full disclosure, I thought the hat was cool at first too. And mostly I didn’t make one because I’m a slut.
No, wait, because I’m lazy. I get those two confused a lot, because slut used to mean lazy, so obviously it always should. Just like a swastika used to be a Navajo holy symbol. Before the Navajo nation retired it because it literally meant genocide. But ok, you just go on and keep invoking that as though it justified wearing a swastika in 2018.
I could spend a lot of time writing some kind of thesis on how both words and symbols have evolving meanings. How it’s neat that you want to recreate a 6th century piece of weaving or wear a cute pink hat with two points, and how both of those things originally had interesting and specific meanings.
But you know better. You do. You live in 2018 just like me and Nazis are marching in the streets and all women are women and not all of them have vaginas although some men do, and you have heard all these things.
And you still want to put a swastika on your body? You still want to wear a pussy hat?
You still want to wear blackface, or a feathered headdress, or a bindi, or dreadlocks? Despite hearing what it does? Hi, who the fuck even are you?
No, that’s the wrong question.
I don’t want to engage you in some kind of debate. I don’t want to waste my time trying to answer all your questions about “can I wear this” and “can I wear that” and “who can wear” and “when is it ok to.” Let’s ask the right question instead:
How would it hurt you to be kind?
If you take off your pussyhat, are you left with nothing? Or are there literally 99,204 knitted or crocheted hat patterns that are not pussy hats?
If you never wore a swastika again, what would change in your life, other than you’d have to wear one of the other 1.5 MILLION pre-16th century patterns?
If you never wore a feathered headdress you hadn’t earned from a nation you don’t belong to, would there be no way for you to feel fabulous? Or would there be, I dunno, 70,000 or so tiaras on Amazon?
Maybe I’m still being naive to think that you’re ready to balance real pain against frustration. Maybe I’m a damn fool to think you’d ever prioritize someone’s terror over your friend’s desire to have a pretty coat. But maybe you’re a kind human. Maybe you’re the sort of person who can ask whether their wants are more important than someone else’s feeling of safety or inclusion. Maybe you can put aside your intellectual curiosity long enough to listen to real people trying to tell you that what you’re doing is cruel and maybe that could be worth stopping for.
Maybe not. Let’s find out.