activismalumnae As protests against the Trump administration began to take shape in the weeks after the election, screenwriter Krista Suh ’09 began thinking of possible ways to make an impact. The outcome was the Pussyhat Project, a simple hat-knitting initiative that resulted in a sea of hand-made, hot pink cat ears flooding Washington, D.C., and many of the sister marches in cities around the world on January 21. The unique idea drew dozens of national headlines for Suh and her co-creator Jayna Zweiman.
Suh told the Los Angeles Times that the idea was born as she remembered her Barnard professors’ advice to incorporate a visual element to her work. “How can I visually show someone what’s going on? […] I realized as a California girl, I would be really cold in D.C.—it’s not tank-top weather year-round. So I thought maybe I could knit myself a hat.” She echoed this sentiment in an interview with the Boston Globe, noting that her art history degree from Barnard inspired her to think of herself as a performance artist, expressing her beliefs in in a manner that can have an impact on other people. Even the project’s name has significance: Suh told CBS News that the Pussyhat Project seeks to “reclaim that word [pussy]—it’s not just about trolling [Trump].”
I’ve always wanted to see the inside of one of these news vans! Thanks ABC7 for interviewing us! You can see more press on #pussyhatproject at https://www.pussyhatproject.com/press/ #Pussyhat
A photo posted by Krista Suh (@kristasuh) on Jan 11, 2017 at 7:56pm PST
A common thread in the media coverage is the role the hats play as conversation starters. The act of knitting the hats was also a method of stress relief for many. Suh was quoted in a Cosmopolitan story that “Right after the election, there was this national grief, and knitting is very therapeutic. It’s something for people to actually do with their hands.” A Huffington Post piece highlighted the often-communal nature of knitting and the avenue that Suh and Zweiman had created for knitters to embrace community organizing, noting that many hats had been created specifically to be donated to marchers.
Suh encapsulated her vision for the Pussyhat Project in an interview with Hello Giggles:
It’s another way of uniting women all over the country, crossing barriers of geography, age, race, class, sexual orientation, etc. […] It’s almost like 2 million women are there, 1 million marchers and 1 million pussyhat makers, all who care about women’s rights and want to be heard and demand to be heard.
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