Unable to make the Women’s March in London on Saturday, instead I joined the small crowd of protesters outside City Hall in Norwich on the evening of Trump’s inauguration. It was freezing and choosing an outfit to wear was easy; comfort and protection against the cold were paramount. Warm layers, bobble hat, thick socks, comfortable boots were the obvious choice. There were absolutely no ‘do I look fat in this’ issues.
The Pussy Hat Project
I didn’t know then about the Pussyhat Project (pussyhatproject.com), until I saw the sea of bright pink on the Washington DC March on TV the next day. Taking the ‘feminine’ colour pink and using it to demonstrate what girl power looked like, embracing the traditional ‘mumsy’ skills of knitting and crocheting and displaying them proudly on the world stage was a brilliant plan. I loved the concept and enjoyed the visual manifestation.
The Rockland Rebel
It’s never too late to join in so I’m using the knitting pattern on the Pussy Hat Project website and making my own pink hat in solidarity with women the world over and in protest against the most powerful man on Earth who thinks it’s ok to grab women by their pussies. Now every time I walk the dog through the beautiful frosty fields of Rockland St Mary I will be staging my own mini act of resistance and marching in spirit with my powerful sisters.
This week saw two other examples of protest dressing in the press. Nicola Thorp refused to wear high heels to work and went to the press and the courts when she was sacked. Go Nicola! And Lydia Higginson recovering from PTSD, after being sexually assaulted, spent a year making all her own clothes including her knickers and bras. She found it healing and protective to know that every item of clothing she wore had been made with love.
Clothes that Spark Joy
After reading ‘The life-changing magic of tidying’ by Marie Kondo I emptied my wardrobe of all the clothes that didn’t ‘spark joy’. This really was a transformative experience – now whenever I open my closet or pull out a draw I love wearing everything I see. No more shoes that hurt, waistbands that scratch, dresses that mean I have to breathe in for hours, just gorgeous colours, soft fabrics and shapes that suit my shape.
Changing our negative body images
Women of all ages, classes and ethnicities often struggle with negative relationships with their bodies. I certainly do. Bouncing between self-hatred for being ‘fat’ or the desperation of dieting and manic exercising in a bid for an always elusive idea of perfection. One way of starting to change this damaging relationship to our bodies maybe through how we chose to dress.
We could dress to be kind to ourselves, we could dress with love for our bodies and that way we would be dressing in protest against a culture which objectifies and denigrates women’s natural body shapes.
Making a Political Statement with what you wear
I love clothes and find it exciting to think that getting dressed up could be not just a practical act, not just a means of creative expression, but also a personal political statement.
If we dress consciously with love for ourselves and for other women – including those who work in appalling conditions for little money to make cheap throw away clothes – then who knows maybe we can change the world.
Out with the men in suits and in with the women in pink hand knitted woolly hats.