Abstract

On January 21, 2017, over one million individuals participated in the Women’s March on Washington. Media coverage noted the “strong collective visual statement” created by a “sea of bright pink” pussyhats with top corners resembling cat ears (Reuters, 2017, para. 1). Months before, a campaign distributed simple patterns to knit, crochet, or sew these distinctive hats. The making and wearing of pussyhats present an interesting evolution in feminism and the recent phenomenon termed “craftism.” The purpose of this study was to employ Identity Theory to explore the making and wearing of pussyhats as “a weapon of resistance for women” (Parker, 1984, Introduction).

A Google search of the terms “pussyhat” and “pussy hat” in mainstream news articles and editorial reporting between November 8, 2016, and March 15, 2017, was conducted. The initial sample was capped at 420 using a comparison method. Full content was transcribed and analyzed for reoccurring terms with the number of instances recorded and ranked.

One hundred sixty-nine terms occurred at least ten times in the forty articles. Unrelated terms and terms with less than 10 occurrences were removed, resulting in a total of 121 terms in the sample to be analyzed. Of these, the most common were identified. Results indicate the presence of an identity where needle arts and feminism intersect. This study supports Lewis (2012), Parker (1984), and Pöllänen (2006). Making and wearing the pussyhat demonstrates an evolving concept of feminism, which encompasses the wide range of expressions and activities available to contemporary women.

Modified Abstract

In January 2017, over one million individuals participated in the Women’s March with media coverage noting the “sea of bright pink” handmade pussyhats with top corners resembling cat ears. This study explored the making and wearing of pussyhats as “a weapon of resistance for women.” A Google search of the terms “pussyhat” and “pussy hat” in news articles and editorials was conducted using a comparison method. The full content was transcribed and analyzed, resulting in 169 terms with at least 10 occurrences. Results indicate the presence of an identity where needle arts and feminism intersect. This research revealed that making and wearing the pussyhat demonstrates an evolving concept of feminism, encompassing the wide range of expressions and activities available to contemporary women.

Research Category

Art/Fashion

Primary Author's Major

Fashion Merchandisinig

Mentor #1 Information

Catherine Amoroso Leslie, Ph.D.

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

5-4-2018 1:00 PM

Research Area

Fiber, Textile, and Weaving Arts | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies

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Apr 5th, 1:00 PM

The Pussy Hat: An intersection between needlework, feminism, and identity

On January 21, 2017, over one million individuals participated in the Women’s March on Washington. Media coverage noted the “strong collective visual statement” created by a “sea of bright pink” pussyhats with top corners resembling cat ears (Reuters, 2017, para. 1). Months before, a campaign distributed simple patterns to knit, crochet, or sew these distinctive hats. The making and wearing of pussyhats present an interesting evolution in feminism and the recent phenomenon termed “craftism.” The purpose of this study was to employ Identity Theory to explore the making and wearing of pussyhats as “a weapon of resistance for women” (Parker, 1984, Introduction).

A Google search of the terms “pussyhat” and “pussy hat” in mainstream news articles and editorial reporting between November 8, 2016, and March 15, 2017, was conducted. The initial sample was capped at 420 using a comparison method. Full content was transcribed and analyzed for reoccurring terms with the number of instances recorded and ranked.

One hundred sixty-nine terms occurred at least ten times in the forty articles. Unrelated terms and terms with less than 10 occurrences were removed, resulting in a total of 121 terms in the sample to be analyzed. Of these, the most common were identified. Results indicate the presence of an identity where needle arts and feminism intersect. This study supports Lewis (2012), Parker (1984), and Pöllänen (2006). Making and wearing the pussyhat demonstrates an evolving concept of feminism, which encompasses the wide range of expressions and activities available to contemporary women.