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A women's suffrage parade is shown here in an undated photo. (AP Photo) This photo has been altered to include pink cat-ear hats from the Pussyhat Project. Women will be wearing these hats during the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017.

The Pussyhat Project is trying to put a modern twist on the women's rights movement


Pussyhats brought politics to the runway during Milan Fashion Week

WATCH| The Pussyhat Project is hoping to turn Washington, D.C. into a sea of pink as an estimated 200,000 women descend on the nation's capital for the Women's March.

It's been a flurry of knit one, pearl two.  Those fighting for human rights and equality for women in the U.S. and around the world have been busily knitting and crocheting pink, cat-eared hats since Thanksgiving weekend. 

"People get to connect with individuals by knitting a hat they know someone else is going to wear,"  says organizer Alexandra Arnhold with the Pussyhat Project, whose goal it was to make 1.17 million hats. "And then the march -- part of it ties it all together into this huge force that’s like immovable.”

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Women who can't attend the march made hats for others coming to Washington, D.C., and included notes of encouragement. (Stefanie Kamerman/Pussyhat Project) 

The project is the brainchild of friends Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman who wanted to come up with a way for women to express their opposition to Donald Trump's presidency, while also encouraging people to turn their frustration with the current political climate into activism during the next four years. 

The women chose to call it the Pussyhat Project as a play on words to reclaim ownership of the word "pussy" that has become a derogatory term for female genitalia. 

Suh and Zweiman launched the project not long after a leaked 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape showed Trump making lewd comments about women. 

“Grab them by the pussy," Trump said while talking to former host Billy Bush in the 2005 tape. "You can do anything.”

"I think the fact that it was said was hurtful,"  said Carrie Zimmerman, a volunteer with the Pussyhat Project, "I think there were hundreds of thousands of men and women alike who said it’s unacceptable, we can’t allow that kind of bullying, denigrative language to be used about women and their bodies."

“This is a pussyhat," Arnhold said as she pointed to her cat-eared hat. "This isn’t derogatory, this isn’t insulting, this is something we can wear proudly instead of something we have to be ashamed of.”

But not everyone is thrilled about the Pussyhat Project. Some, like Petula Dvorak, a columnist for The Washington Post, fear this will undermine more serious women's rights discussions and that the image of pussyhats will become part of feminist myth, similar to that of bra burning.

In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, Dvorak explained that while women tossed bras into trash cans during many high-profile protest in the 1960s, few bras were actually burned. 

"The Women’s March of 2017 will be remembered as an unruly river of Pepto-Bismol roiling through the streets of the capital rather than a long overdue civil rights march," she wrote.

Others are just uncomfortable saying the "p-word." 

“I’ve heard them go ‘ahh I’m a little uncomfortable.’" Zimmerman said. "There are people who are uncomfortable, it’s too raw for them, it’s too graphic, it’s not what they would choose - then I would say, then don’t use that word.”

Either way, the project's creators told People magazine they hope the hats will live on as a symbol of feminist activism for generations to come. 

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