I’ve been seeing discussions on my dash about the use of the words “pussy” and even the color of the pink hats used in the women’s march, and I’d like to submit a couple of ideas to you for consideration.
Let me preface by saying: I am not in favor of signage/words that prioritize one set of sexual organs over another because that gets into weird places of associating genitalia with gender, etc.
However, signs that say things like “Pussy Grabs Back” - please consider that this is in context and direct opposition to a man who bragged about assaulting women with vaginas by saying “I grab ‘em by the pussy.” This is reflecting his language back in the form of protest, and in this case, I think is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
Also please consider that vaginas are very, very often targets and sites of violence, even when they belong to men. Vaginas are so derided, as a concept and as a body part, that most of the anti-trans-woman rhetoric I’ve heard from cis men in my life has centered around the fact that they would rather die before they’d give up their penis for a vagina. (Nevermind their complete lack of comprehension about the actual experience of being trans and how body parts do or don’t contribute to that.) I’m saying that this is their actual viewpoint: vaginas are terrible and anyone who would want to have one is weak and less-than. So signs that laud, praise, and glorify vaginas are still an act of rebellion. (Of course I am also saying please do not make the mistake of vagina=woman. Having a vagina is a completely separate issue from your actual gender.) But in this context, pro-vagina is still an act of rebellion against a patriarchy that views them as dirty and worthy of scorn and violence.
Also, as far as pink hats go: I would like you to consider that, completely separate from the reference to “pink bits” – even taking into account cat ears and the name “pussy hat” – pink is considered a feminine color and as such is subject to the same derision that a patriarchy places on women.
idk if you’ve ever been to the American South, especially, but say you’re standing outside a Target or a Wal-Mart in Virginia or the Carolinas or Georgia or Alabama. Say it’s pouring rain. Say it’s hailing. And there’s a dude standing a couple of feet away from you without an umbrella, squinting under the brim of his sportsball team cap. Say you have an extra umbrella and you are a generous person and you go to offer it to this man. But say the umbrella is pink.
Let me tell you a thing: There is a roughly 80% chance that the man is going to look at the pink umbrella, snort, take a step sideways away from you, and say, “Not that thing.” He won’t touch it. He probably won’t even be polite about refusing it. In his mind, you’ve just offended him by offering him something that is pink – the color of femininity. You’ve just implied that he’s not masculine. You’ve just implied that he’s weak, or “gay”, or whatever.
I’m not exaggerating. I have lived in the American South all my life. I’ve seen men stand in hailstorms rather than touch something pink. I’ve seen men go naked rather than wear something pink. I’ve heard them complain about having to TOUCH something pink.
So yeah, there’s a context to the color beyond just “pink parts.” The context is that anything the patriarchy PERCEIVES as feminine – whether it actually is or not – is a fair target for violence in their minds. And that is worth protesting.
But even with this context in mind, I want to put out there one more thought: Protect trans women. Protect intersex women. Protect women of color. Protect disabled women. And if any of these people feel uncomfortable or excluded because of the way that these items are often associated with cis white women, respect that, and don’t force them to interface with it.
Let’s not forget that women legislators have been banned from speaking after saying the word vagina.
Or that women teachers are fired for saying the word vagina.
Or the fact that anti-abortion lawmakers believe people can swallow a camera and have it end up in their vagina because they don’t know how vaginas work.
Or that they believe “legitimate” rape victims with vaginas have magical powers to shut down potential pregnancies before they occur.
Or a woman who called Senator Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) and was scolded for using the word menstruation before they hung up on her.
No, not all women have a vagina and no, not all people with vaginas are women. A vagina doesn’t make you a woman, but this is still a women’s issue, just like parenting, the economy, violence against transwomen, and immigration are women’s issues. Women are reduced down to their vaginas, whether or not men have access to them, whether or not a woman has a vagina, what it looks like, what it smells like, how aesthetically pleasing it is to someone else, how many people have touched it, how you’re allowed to medicate it, how you’re allowed to procreate with it, how much they can charge you to access it.
For anyone who has a vagina, this is a push to reclaim power over it.
And it’s just one of a great many issues that women collectively face together.
Saw this in the notes on this post and wanted to give it some visibility, not least of which because it sources some of the bullshit ways vaginas, specifically, are targeted by this cishet white patriarchy trying to crush us all and one of the things internalized misogyny does is ignore or excuse any time the patriarchy does this.
(I also want to point out that WOC and indigenous women are statistically at higher risk for having their bodily autonomy attacked than white women, and we’re at a higher risk than is acceptable to begin with. idk I just wanted to acknowledge that.)