January 30 2017
You might call it a catfight over the pussyhats.
Soon after the Women's March on Washington wound up on Jan. 21, it emerged that the protest--featuring tens of thousands of women wearing bright pink caps with cat ears--a reference to a vulgar remark involving the word "pussy" that President Trump had uttered in 2005--had disturbed a very vocal group: trans-women.
While clever, [the] pussy hats set the tone for a march that would focus acutely on genitalia at the expense of the transgender community. Signs like "Pussy power," "Viva la Vulva" and "Pussy grabs back" all sent a clear and oppressive message to trans women, especially: having a vagina is essential to womanhood.
"The main reason I decided not to go was because of the pussy hats," 28-year-old Jade Lejeck said in an interview Sunday night. "I get that they're a response to the 'grab them by the pussy' thing, but I think some people fixated on it the wrong way."
Lejeck, a trans woman from Modesto, California, said the hats signaled to her that there would be other trans-exclusionary messages at the women's marches.
Trans-woman Evan Geer complained in the LBGT newspaper the Advocate:
The exclusion and marginalization of trans women in “women’s spaces” has real consequences. It contributes to the widespread belief that trans women are "really" men — the very lie that catalyzes violence against trans women. We see this lie repeated in the pages of The New York Times, in state legislatures passing anti-trans bathroom bills, and in the so-called "feminist" briefs filed before the Supreme Court challenging the basic dignity of trans youths' lives.
Count me completely on board with Lejeck and Geer. I, too, found it peculiar that the Women's March, which was supposed to focus on important feminist causes that its organizers believed Trump's new administration would curtail--abortion access, breaking the glass ceiling, or whatever--quickly did devolve into being all about genitalia. Look at the photos of the march, and you'll see not just a sea of pussyhats and "pussy power" signs, but a sea of vagina costumes, hand-knit uteruses, and posters with paintings of fallopian tubes.
Wouldn't it have been easier to take the Women's March on Washington seriously if, well, the women who participated in it had exercised a little taste?