The Millinery of Dissent

Of course it all started with the pussy hats. I duly made one of those and wore it to my local Women’s March, and blogged about it here.

Then it was announced that there would be a March for Science, to be held on Earth Day, April 22. So naturally there had to be a hat for that, too; hats seem to be taking the place once occupied by t-shirts in protest movements.  It’s a good thing knitters had some lead time on this one, because the first pattern of choice was the Brain Hat for Science. Since this requires knitting a base cap and then a lot of i-cord, which is then sewn on to represent the cerebral cortex, it’s considerably more involved.

So I get a letter from my good friend Kathy, wondering whether I could possibly knit her a navy brain hat. So of course I agreed.

At first navy seemed like an odd color choice, but stay with me on this. Navy speaks truth to power. Navy is at home in the Situation Room, the board room, on Wall Street, on Pennsylvania Avenue. And of all my friends, the one I would probably want in any of these situations is Kathy. So if anybody should have a navy hat, it’s Kathy.

Besides, she’s always been classic and practical. Navy probably goes with a lot in her wardrobe, and we need to be practical about our protest hats. They may become wardrobe staples going forward.  So here is Kathy’s hat:

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Then Mike wanted a hat, and since he is a bona fide scientist, he certainly gets one.  He won’t be able to participate in the March, because he is organizing a statewide science competition for middle schoolers–and if that isn’t the best excuse ever, I don’t know what is. But he wanted a hat to wear to this event, so he got the Gray Matter hat pictured above.

While I was working on these, people elsewhere were getting very creative with the idea. Why not skip knitting the base cap and use a baseball cap as a base, since this would eliminate some knitting and provide a visor?  (I asked Mike whether he’d like one of those, and he said no, he would prefer a “classic” brain hat. Let that sink in a minute. A “classic” brain hat. As though Cary Grant would wear something like this in public.)

And people have gotten creative in other ways as well. Brain Hats and Thinking caps, a Facebook group, shows all kinds of ways that people have run with the idea–often in ways that celebrate their own areas of expertise. There are hats with DNA cables, hats with Fair Isle designs showing scientific equations, organic chemistry models, the word “Science,” and other  appropriate emblems. There is even a gorgeous marine biology one with knitted appliqués of starfish and seashells.

When it came time to do one for me, I knew I wanted a visor. And I knew perfectly well that my mind was as navy as Kathy’s or as scientifically rigorous as Mike’s. It’s postmenopausal. It spends a lot of time looking for keys and sunglasses, and trying to remember why it dragged my body into a room. So it’s synapses are firing into nowhere, and it may be becoming a bit frazzled and uncoiled. But it’s still glad to be here–getting old isn’t a privilege given to everyone, after all. And it expresses the hope that science can keep it from getting any worse.

So here is My Postmenopausal Brain.  If you see it at the Albuquerque March for Science, come up and say “hi.” Mind you, it might not remember you if it sees you again the next day.

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2 comments on “The Millinery of Dissent

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