The pink hat brigade hand the boy's locker room another victory

Carolyn Moynihan
January 23, 2017
Reproduced with Permission

Excuse me: I thought women - everyone, in fact -- were disgusted with the sexism and crudity of Donald Trump. I thought they were absolutely scandalised and infuriated that he has boasted about taking sexual liberties with "beautiful women", "moving on them" and forcing intimate contact on them.

Respectable media like The Washington Post, which unearthed a revealing 2005 tape, and The New York Times had to hold their noses while they described in detail its content. The Times found it " extraordinarily vulgar ". The Post called it " extremely lewd ". And it was. Others said it was criminal .

So what's with the pink "pussyhats" in the Women's March on Washington on Saturday? Why did organisers take one of Mr Trump's vulgar and lewd, not to mention disrespectful terms, used in the context of possibly criminal behaviour, and turn it into an emblem of their event? Is the word no longer vulgar, lewd or offensive? Or is it only such when a man you don't like uses it?

The gals who ran the Pussyhat Project acknowledge that it is a "derogatory word for female genitalia" but they "chose this loaded word for our project because we wanted to reclaim the term as a means of empowerment." They are proud of their lady parts and see nothing wrong with drawing attention to them as a symbol "our femaleness and femininity" in their "stand for women's rights".

Well, all sorts of ugly words have been "reclaimed" by different bits of the feminist movement in defence of women's rights. An infamous play even tried to rehabilitate "rape" so long as it happened in a lesbian context.

But the strategy is fundamentally flawed. If a word, by common consent, is vulgar and lewd - even today, when such words are peppered through the mainstream press - in one context, then it is vulgar and lewd in all contexts. Whether you care about vulgarity is the issue, and apparently the women's march people do not.

But they cannot at the same time lay claim, as the pink hat project does, to a "femininity" whose strengths are "caring, compassion and love". The two types of language simply cannot be reconciled with each other. For women to claim it as their own represents a defeat, not a triumph.

It is an admission that a certain kind of masculine culture now dominates society - a culture that has little respect for distinctive feminine qualities, wants to press women into the same sexual and social mould as men, and will call abortion a "woman's right" just to get its own way.

Girls, you got it wrong. You handed the boys' locker room another victory.