Broken Hearts & Pink Hats (#169)

I’m not a fan of pink. I scorned the traditionally feminine color as a child, insisting that all my clothes had to be blue. This was not easy for my parents, thanks to gendered marketing. Blue dresses were tough, and a girl’s blue bathrobe was downright impossible. They gave me a boy’s blue bathrobe. I loved it.

I wanted a blue winter coat. In the midst of a bitter divorce, struggling financially, my dad didn’t have time to hunt for a blue coat (this was before Amazon). So I wore my blue bathrobe to school.

I got a big blue coat within a week.

My sisters grew up and joined the battle against gender stereotypes and pink.

We are all feminists.

We all voted for Hillary.

We were all devastated on Election Day.

We are all marching on Washington on January 21st.

But the minute the whole pink pussy cat hat question came up, there was dissension. For those unfamiliar with the pink pussy hat, it’s a knitting or crocheting pattern that gives the hat the look of cat ears. And yes, it is in response to Donald Trump’s infamous boast about how he would grab women “by the pussy.” Women all over the country have been creating them, sharing them, and plan on wearing them to the Women’s March on Washington.

I complained to my sisters, “Pink! I HATE pink. Why can’t it be blue for chrissakes?!”

Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister said, “Why do they have to try and reclaim the word ‘pussy?’ I hate that word.”

Pretty Space Cadet Sister said, “I want a hat.”

Singing Sister was all, “What? Are we wearing vaginas on our heads?”

Boyfriend Stealing Baby Sister said, “I am so wearing a hat.”

Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister: “I am not wearing that hat. Ever.”

I wasn’t sold on the hats. Then an opinion piece in The Washington Post argued that the hats would make women look too festive or too silly. No one would take the marchers’ message seriously, the author insisted.

That piece pissed me off. I hate it when ANYONE tells women what they should or shouldn’t wear. Partly because of thousands of years of oppression, wrapped in corsets, burkas, and PINK.

But also because I’m still that little girl, determined to wear a blue bathrobe.

So from that moment on, I was Team Pink. One of my readers offered to crochet me a hat, which turned into five hats. My old friend CS, who made me my fabulous Black Valentine, knitted me another five hats and shipped them to Washington.

Both refused to accept payment, asking only that we donate to Planned Parenthood…if we hadn’t already. (We all have.)

Most of my sisters are now Team Hat. But Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister, who lives in DC, remained ambivalent.

We didn’t talk about the hats when I arrived last night.

We didn’t talk about them as we ran errands today in the somber, empty D.C. environs. Like everyone else, we were quiet. I haven’t seen a city so stunned and sad since September 11th. Only this time, there were no flags anywhere except the parade route…which was deserted.

We didn’t talk about the hats when we went out for lunch. Instead, we sniffled and cried over our ramen as we lost our beloved President and our hope. We looked on Twitter for humorous memes to save us, but even Twitter couldn’t break through our gloom.

A sign one of my sisters made. It makes me cry.

We worked on our signs that afternoon with sorrow.

We ran out of supplies. Lawyer Sis ran off to Michael’s to get more poster board.

She came back gushing, “Oh, my God, that was the stupidest idea ever. You have no idea how many women are at the craft store, the line is at least fifty people long and there are no supplies at all!”

I said, “But…you’re smiling?!”

“You know what? There are women everywhere, and they are all wearing pink pussy hats and I know I was against the hat, but it just made me feel so much better for the first time to see how many of us there are! They are everywhere.”

As I type this post, Lawyer Sis sits on her couch, playing the videos of pink-hatted women landing in DC. She’s still smiling.

And here’s what she’s wearing tomorrow.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

17 thoughts on “Broken Hearts & Pink Hats (#169)”

  1. I had lunch with my sister today (Friday). She arrived in her pink pussy cat. She’s been wearing it everywhere. She’ll be wearing it tomorrow in the Seattle Women’s March. She sent one to my daughter, who will be wearing it in DC. I think the sea of pink will be impressive. My asthma has been acting up or I’d be marching too.

    Have fun!

    1. I expect it to be crazy. I have one sister coming from Boston and another NYC and they are reporting that the traffic is insane and the restrooms on the New Jersey Turnpike are crazy with hats and Nasty Women. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  2. I’m proud of you and your sisters, Autumn. I wish I could wear a pink hat and join the action in DC.

    I wanted to march in LA/San Diego tomorrow but I got deathly ill today, ugh, go figure. I’ll be cheering from my bed. Can’t wait to see the crowds on TV/internet tomorrow.

    Very cute a reader made a hat for you! That’s true fandom right there.

    Good luck tomorrow Autumn!!!!

  3. I am with you in spirit. Unlike you I always loved pink but the bold color that’s closer to fuschia. I wore it judiciously through my business career (not exactly a power color but goes nicely with navy). Then I wore it through cancer. Now I’ll wear it in solidarity. You go girl!

  4. Looking forward to read about your experience in the March!

    I also didn’t like pink when I was a child. But I had many dresses which were not pink. In fact I don’t remember any pink dress! I had blue, green & purple, white with green and fuchsia apples… those are the ones I remember hahaha.
    However when I was around 20 I got a bright pink t-shirt and I loved it. Now I have a few pink clothes, not too many because I like having many different colours, but I don’t have anything against pink.

    I also like when men wear pink. It’s a brave colour.

    I didn’t know there were bathrobes for boys and girls. Isn’t it the same for both? Haha!

    1. If it can be gendered in the United States, it probably is! Different sections for boys and girls, and the girls’ section is pink, pink, pink. I branched out from blue eventually, though.

      To black, I think. 🙂

  5. Glad you went. Looking forward to an update.

    You, your sisters, and Andy should watch Hidden Figures. Great story, and presents an unsanitized view of race relations and misogyny during the 1960s, as well as highlighting the talent and perseverance of the women who contributed to the space program.

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