Home / Op-Ed / Put away your pussy hats

Put away your pussy hats

author: cat haines | UR pride program coordinator

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

But my Twitter feed probably looks different than yours – friends struggling to survive aren’t exactly out of the ordinary when most of your friends are other trans women.

About a week before the Women’s March, I thought about knitting a penis hat – which, come to think of it, is pretty ironic given the number of times I got bullied for being a pussy growing up. And honestly, it was hard enough for me to feel comfortable showing up to the march as a girl with a dick under her skirt, let alone proudly displaying one on my head.

Plus, I never got around to learning how to purl, so my knitting skills are… rather limited.

The morning after the march, I woke up to a social media feed full of my friends from around the country (and the world) who were angry and sad and exhausted at their inability to participate in the Women’s Marches in their city. I woke up to friends who couldn’t celebrate the empowering feeling, so many of us felt after the march. I woke up to friends struggling to survive.

But my Twitter feed probably looks different than yours – friends struggling to survive aren’t exactly out of the ordinary when most of your friends are other trans women.

Do you remember why we made pussy hats in the first place? A sexually abusive man who became the President of the United States was filmed saying “grab her by the pussy.” We rallied around the vileness of his statement, around the grotesque sense of ownership and entitlement that it implied. We rallied around the threat of having our pussies grabbed, and of the casualness with which he simultaneously admitted to and abstained from being responsible for sexual assault.

But it was never actually about pussies; we rallied around one of the universal feminine experiences: that of having our sexuality, our bodies, and our existence be in a constant state of jeopardy, of having our value be determined not by ourselves or even each other, but by a system of power run by misogynistic men who think it’s okay to assault women sexually.

Do you think that someone who sexually assaults women is going to take time to try and assess and guess what genitals a woman has before grabbing them? Do you think that’s even possible? Do you think I am somehow not at risk, or at lower risk, of sexual assault because I am a woman with a penis? Do you think women wake up from having vaginoplasties and are suddenly more at risk of being sexually assaulted because they now have a vagina?

If you want to talk about reproductive rights, talk about reproductive rights. If you want to talk about sexual assault, talk about sexual assault. And if you want to talk about, reclaim, and embrace your body and your sexuality, please, please do that. But do it in a way that pulls us together, that unites us, that celebrates all women.

I might not have a pussy, but I experience that same harassment, that same constant background fear that hums inside you and rises to a high pitch scream when you’re in danger.

I feel it when I walk down the street at night, and I feel it when I enter new women’s spaces.

Your femininity is not your pussy, and mine is not my penis. We are so much more than a single part of our body. We are so much more than our bodies. Reducing your femininity to your body is a disservice to yourself; reducing femininity to a pink (read: white) pussy is an act of subtle violence toward women who do not share your experiences and privileges.

So, put away your pussy hats, and leave your vagina-centric signs at home next year. Let’s make the Women’s March a place where all women all can feel comfortable.

 

—-

 

Cat Haines is a kitchen witch, musician, and trans woman who works at UR Pride as the Program Coordinator and is a former U of R student.

 

UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity is a student center at the University of Regina that supports all students in issues about sexuality, gender, self-expression, and healthy relationships. To learn more or get involved, visit urpride.ca or visit their office in the Riddell Centre (RC225).

 

About Our Contributors

The University of Regina's thriving community fuels our content at the Carillon! If you've got a story worth sharing or are interested in contributing please let us know! Send an email to editor@carillonregina.com and subscribe to our pitch list!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *