Lethbridge ladies knit 'pussyhats' for women's march post Trump inauguration

In her 70s, Doreen Brazier has been inspired by the Pussyhat Project to own the word, despite its intended derogatory meaning.

WARNING: Graphic language

Lethbridge women knit "pussyhats" in solidarity to send message to Trump administration

CBC News Calgary

4 years ago
The significance of the term "pussyhat" stems from Trump's notorious "locker room talk" video from 2005, revealed during the election campaign. The video recorded him saying, "grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." 0:30

Doreen Brazier wasn't a "bra burning" activist in the 1960s and '70s, but something about President Elect Donald Trump winning the American election in November lit a fire within her — and that fire has got her knitting "pussyhats." 

It's all a part of the preparations for Saturday's Women's March on Washington.  

Organizers in Lethbridge, Alta., are planning one of more than 600 international sister rallies the day after Trump's inauguration. The original event in Washington, D.C., is expected to draw tens of thousands of people in support of women's rights. 

Response to 'locker room talk'

Brazier sits at a table in the crowded clothing store, the Drunken Sailor, working on posters for the rally. Atop her head is one of the pink, oblong toques known as a pussyhat.

With squared corners, it gives her head the appearance of ears — akin to those of a cat. 

The hat's name is a tribute to its shape, but also to Trump's notoriously lewd "locker room talk" video from 2005 that was revealed during the election campaign.

In it, Trump made several controversial statements about women, including the notorious "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything" comment.

"These pink hats are being knit by people all over the world and being sent to Washington," Brazier said. "And the significance will be solidarity. So, we're going to be wearing them in solidarity on Saturday in Lethbridge."

Reclaiming the word

The Pussyhat Project, launched in the U.S. in November, aims to be a visual statement of solidarity and support for women's rights. The movement also encourages women to reclaim the term for female genitalia that's often used in a derogatory fashion.

Brazier, now in her 70s, admits she's never been particularly comfortable with the term herself, but she bashfully laughs and hits her fist on the table as she declares, "We need to own the word pussy, and that's exactly what I'm doing." 

Doreen Brazier, who lives in Lethbridge, Alta., makes posters while wearing her 'pussyhat' — a symbol of solidarity for those planning to join Saturday's Women's March on Washington or related rallies on women's rights across the continent. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC)

​Posters and pussyhats

Brazier and a handful of women surround the tables set up at the Drunken Sailor over the lunch hour. Some knit pussyhats and others work on drawing and painting signs for Saturday's march. 

Poster-making supplies have been provided by the owner of the store, Loralee Edwards.

"It was important for us to be involved because we support women. We have since we opened. It's one of the tenets of Drunken Sailor, " Edwards told CBC.

"And so to be able to provide a space for us to get ready for Saturday, and for women to come together, was important for us — being a part of the community."

The gathering in Lethbridge takes place at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of Mayor Magrath Drive and Nine Avenue South.

Women have been gathering at Lethbridge's Drunken Sailor to make posters and knit 'pussyhats' but they've come to realize the group support might be just as important as the march they're preparing for. (Sarah Lawrynuik/CBC)


Sarah Lawrynuik reports on climate change and is now based in Winnipeg, Man. after five years of calling Calgary home. She's covered news stories across Canada and around the world, including in France, Hungary, Ukraine and Iraq. She has worked for CBC News in Halifax, Winnipeg and Calgary.