Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Island of Misfit Fashionistas

Barely one year after it first hit the red carpets at fashion shows and in the Trump Tower section of Fifth Avenue and at the D.C. Women's March, the pussy hat has already gone the way of the poodle skirt. Where it's not gathering dust in the back of a closet, it's being showcased in museums as a quaint little curio of a bygone age.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London managed to snag one as early as last spring. Still, the pussy hat craze continued on to International Woman's Day in May, with a mass knit-a-thon during a session of the Swiss Parliament. No word as to whether Clinton fans who were so outraged by Vanity Fair's recent suggestion that Hillary take up knitting boycotted those kinds of sewing circle events in solidarity with their heroine.

Not to be outdone by Victoria and Albert, the founder of the original Pussyhat Project plans an actual stand-alone museum of pussy hats from all over the world. Hollywood stars like Madonna and Julianne Moore were said to be donating their own castaway hats to the permanent exhibit, to be located on the grounds of Michigan State University.

That the pussy hat craze was relatively short-lived is quite understandable, given that the mass outpourings of anger over Donald Trump's election constituted not so much a social justice protest movement as a coordinated venting of support for the vanquished Hillary Clinton. In fact, the pink pussy hat turned out to be the precursor of the more "woke" and expensive black protest-dress debuting of the Golden Globes.  The Great Pussy Hat Rebellion of 2017 has morphed seamlessly into the #MeToo craze, which itself is a proxy fight against Donald Trump in the persona of Harvey Weinstein and other celebrity predators.

Since there is really not that much cultural distance between the spectacle of Hollywood and the spectacle of Washington, the black dress protest movement still has a little life left in it. It's currently gliding high above dystopian Trump Country to make its soft and silky landing at the upcoming State of the Union extravaganza. In just a few short weeks, Democratic congresswomen will make their own bold prime-time fashion statements in solidarity with their fellow actresses.

The Hill reports:
Female Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plan to wear black to show solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct, just as Hollywood stars did at an awards show over the weekend.
Members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group had been discussing ideas for a coordinated effort around the State of the Union after wearing white — the color of suffragettes — to Trump’s first joint address to Congress last year. They settled on wearing black after watching the Golden Globes on Sunday.Female Democrats are hoping that their display of black will help bring the “Me Too” conversation about rooting out sexual misconduct and women’s issues to Trump’s State of the Union on Jan. 30.
After failing to ram through equal pay/living wage legislation during their Obama-era supermajority, the best that the women legislators can now hope for is to "continue the conversation" about how unfair it all is while they show "solidarity" with their fellow millionaire-victims on the Other Coast.

This is not to say that the Democratic men won't also be making their own statements.

Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, for one, delivered a rousing House speech to boldly announce that he will bravely plunk himself down right in the middle of the chamber this year instead of doing what he usually does: arriving early to get in prime position to shake the president's hand in front of the TV cameras. His act of passive resistance is sure to light a fire under his constituents, many of whom are finding it increasingly hard to meet the rent and the heating bills in their gentrifying city neighborhoods.

A few of Engel's colleagues will be even bolder, and not show up at all.

None of them apparently plans to loudly disrupt the somber ceremony or to heckle Donald Trump. Small-d democratic acts of dissent would not be in keeping with the solemn decorum of the occasion at all. If the Democrats acted up they'd be going as low as that racist Republican who screeched out "You Lie!" to Barack Obama at one of his SOTU addresses. And as the Dems always say, they like to go high and stay high in order to distance themselves from the low and the impolitic. It's why they forced Al Franken out of the Senate: to send a tacit message to whatever tiny sliver of the electorate they're still trying to impress.

Meanwhile, the edgy crusading New York Times wants to hear from all the regular disgruntled women out there.

They want to know just one thing: What did you do with your pink pussy hat? Did you relegate it to the island of misfit clothes or toys?  

"Show us where it lives!" they gush. They want all the fluffy details, and they especially want cute photos, such as your adorable pet cat wearing it to keep its own little ears warm during this harsh winter of gossip and discontent.

If you're very lucky, a Times editor might even give you a personal call before the nostalgia phase of the pink hat craze reaches its sell-by date.


Comrade Pinko said...

Obviously Putin instigated the Woman's March and the Pink Pussy Hat movement through Facebook ads and other social media interference, including coordination of rallies. Putin is clearly behind #MeToo since it further divides our wonderful united democratic country. The whole Pink Hat and #MeToo crowd, wittingly or not, are giving aid and comfort to the enemy as tools of the Kremlin. Putin stooges! I'm shocked that Hillary hasn't figured out that Putin has played her fellow travelers like a cheap fiddle.

My spies tell me that in Mother Russia, they refer to those hats as Pinko Hats. If our leaders are serious about Russian interference and protecting our Homeland, they need to investigate all these collaborators and collusioners who are so easily influenced by Putin and find out how they fell under his evil spell. The first step is to confiscate all those dangerously subversive Pinko Hats. Thankfully, that seems to be underway.

We are under attack by Russia. This is WAR!

Jay–Ottawa said...

Far too much abstract theory here in these semiotics leading up to Trump's State of the Union Address. He won't be thrown off by pink pussy hats or black outfits. To throw everybody off balance, he might even show up wearing a wide pink and black knit Trump tie hanging down to his pupik [sic](see Urban Dictionary).

Here's a better way to unsettle him while he's standing over the political tee, breathing slow, getting ready to whack a truly beautiful speech of a SOTU into the black hole of national politics: the Dems conspire to download on their smart phones the sound of knitting needles clicking. Right, they're gonna needle him to death.

If enough courageous Dems do this and play the recording during Trump's SOTU, the sound will bring down the House and hardly be traceable. The Sergeant at Arms can't eject the whole herd of donkeys can he? The phones will be in pockets ready to be turned on or off subtly and as needed throughout the speech. If the clicking sound succeeds, it could be the new note of mockery at speeches––or even typed out in Tweets––over the next 3 (or 7) years.

Imagine if 100 Dems in the House of Reps do this while Trump is droning on. Guaranteed to be much more effective than donning ultra-passive black threads and calling it a day. The ploy will take a thimble full of courage, however; and there's the rub, given the current state of the Democratic Party.

My wife used to drive me nuts when she began knitting in the passenger seat beside me on long drives. We finally negotiated an end to that routine so long as I was more prompt in the future when she asked me to take out the trash.

What we need for January 30 in the amphitheatre of the House of Reps is something like the "drip, drip................................drip" of Chinese torture. So I'm taking a page from Will and asking you to try listening to the following at Youtube for a few minutes without going bonkers.

Full disclosure: the Youtube sites I vetted for real knitting needle sounds were not loud enough. The following is really "Loud Clicking Noises," but it'll do.

Bye, bye. Click, click.

general jinjur said...

echoes of Madame deFarge? hmmmmmm. I like it ; )

Elizabeth -- Marysville said...

Jay -- you make me lol!

I couldn't get into the pussy hat thing, as it screamed "I'm with her!" (as in HRC).

Comrade Pinko said...

I've got an idea to re-purpose all those pink pussy hats. Attach downy white feathers around the lower sides and back of the hat. Bern-ie! Bern-ie! Bern-ie!

I'll have to go looking in the yarn bin at the thrift store (h/t Karen) for pink pussy hats, then check my old feather pillows to see if I can harvest some nice, white downy fluff from them.

It'll probably end up looking like a half-plucked dead chicken since I'm not very crafty, but I bet Karen could make a great prototype even if it started as just a graphic. How about it, Karen?