In the Age of Political Headgear, March for Life Misses Opportunity
In 2017, don't you need a hat to make your point?
Aerial photos from the Jan. 21 Women's March on Washington are impressive in that they not only show the sheer size of the turnout, but they are also startlingly, uniformly, pink with Pussyhats.
On the opposite side of the (political) spectrum was the sea of jarringly bright red "Make American Great Again" hats on Election Night at the New York Midtown hotel where Trump made his victory speech.
Which begs the question: In 2017, don't you need headgear to make a point?
At the 2017 March for Life, the annual pro-life demonstration at the Washington Mall on Friday, protestors were enthusiastic, headstrong and ready for the cameras. However they lacked that unifying sartorial statement which seems to be the hallmark of every other political cause that Americans have championed in the past 12 months. No pantsuits, no Pussyhats or trucker caps here, just "Defund Planned Parenthood" and (misspelled) "We [heart] Kellyann" signage.
Though the March for Life movement does sell hats, tees and sweatshirts on its website, no single piece of merch caught on with quite as much fervor as the other movements' signature fashion statements. (Branded items like the "March for Life" beanie, $13.99, lacked sexy slogans a la "Make America Great Again" that could have made them a more popular choice. We might have suggested a "lifesaver" necklace or something with a life guard pun.) And in the digital age, where it's zero to Instagram in under three seconds, those striking symbols of unity not only make a point about, say, where the president can and cannot put his hands, but also leave a lasting visual impression.
There's also something to be said for a uniform to inspire camaraderie and bring celebrity visibility to a cause (Chelsea Handler, Cate Blanchett and Amy Schumer all proudly wore Pussyhats.) Ever seen two people wearing the same NFL jersey bro out and become BFFs upon first meeting each other? It's like that.
Creating a massive sartorial statement has never been easier, either, thanks to the likes of Etsy and Amazon (even Cafe Press), where you can overnight your Pussyhat on a Thursday and be ready to go for your Saturday protest.
Aside from the homemade beanies inspired by the grassroots Pussyhat Project and the mass-produced trucker hats being churned out by the thousands, the fashion industry, too, has played a hand in outfitting the public for a cause. "The Future Is Female" tees and sweatshirts, first designed by Otherwild, which donated 25 percent of proceeds to Planned Parenthood, were one of the first items to make feminism fashionable in 2016, followed shortly by Maria Grazia Chiuri's first Dior collection of feminist tees, which have been sported by everyone from Bella Hadid to Rihanna.