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First there were the pussyhats -- donned at women’s marches and rallies throughout the world on Jan. 21, repudiating our president’s treatment of women and creating an at-a-glance sea of symbolic pink.
Now there are the brain hats -- to be worn at a Washington, D.C., March for Science on Earth Day – repudiating the president’s disregard of scientific facts about everything from vaccines to climate change.
Yarn is having a moment.
...a hat sends a message – that women will band together to rebuke a man, no matter how powerful, who stomps on their rights and basic dignity.
Perhaps fiber seems an unusual medium to convey critical messages about women’s rights and the primacy of scientific facts over alternative ones. Pink kitten ears and squishy grey matter may also seem unlikely symbols of protest. But a hat sends a message -- that women will band together to rebuke a man, no matter how powerful, who stomps on their rights and basic dignity; and that science should not and cannot be disregarded in the name of political malfeasance. Yet few would argue that a knitted hat makes the march; our problems cannot be crocheted away. So what's the point of making a political statement with yarn?
“I hate you. Enjoy this handmade hat,” said no yarn enthusiast ever.
Despite all this, there are times when I wonder if my yarn activities are really the best use of my time to help people. Should I really knit hats for a cause when I could, perhaps, make a bigger impact by donating funds to Planned Parenthood, for instance? But it’s a false equivalency. Doing one does not preclude doing the other. Besides, I don't crochet to solve the world’s problems.
As we've seen so far this year, yarn has the potential to unite people who share the same rallying cry. Up next: donning caps to show our opposition to the president's ban on travel from seven predominately Muslim countries.
Yarn enthusiasts, will you take up your knitting needles and join me?