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About Annual Meeting
On January 21, 2017, several million protesters, mostly women, took part in the “Women’s March on Washington” and its more than 400 sister marches that were held in cities throughout the U.S. and across the globe. One enduring image of these marches was the (often pink) pussyhat. In this primarily qualitative, mixed methods study we examine the symbolism and meaning of the pussyhat from the viewpoints of women who marched.
Over 500 women completed our questionnaire surveys, which were distributed online through convenience and snowball sampling. While our overarching question focused on the symbolic meaning of the pussyhat, we also gathered data on why the participants marched, whether or not they had worn a pussyhat, how the hats were acquired and whether the marchers planned to continue wearing the hats in the future. We also gathered demographic data which allowed us to examine dynamics of the way pussyhats were worn and interpreted based on age, geographic location of march participation, sexual orientation, education, and race/ethnicity.
Data analysis revealed five emergent themes describing why women took part in the march. 42% of respondents reported wearing a pussyhat during the march, though virtually all of our respondents recognized the pussyhat and were able to both describe what it looked like and share their perceptions of its symbolic role. While a majority of the women emphasized how the pussyhat promoted empowerment and solidarity, some women offered critiques by pointing out ways that the hat was also exclusive and potentially divisive.