A Twitter user just schooled us all on the Hatpin Panic, and basically all feminists should know about this
A hatpin isn’t an accessory that many women encounter nowadays. Probably because, hats aren’t a daily wardrobe occurrence for us anymore. Back in the day – as in back in the early 1900s – the hatpin doubled as a fancy accessory and an effective self-defense tool. Awesome Twitter user Jason Poole decided it was time for social media to get a history lesson on this important feminist object, and we are grateful!
Since the beginning of time, predatory men have run amuck. Women have had to deal with them and their lechery. As more and more young women were “permitted” to walk about the city unattended in the 1900s, the newspaper reported a rash of incidences: women defended themselves against a man’s unwanted physical and verbal advances by stabbing them with their hatpins.
Before we go on, we should at least take a look at one of these things.
As you can see, it’s no joke. These suckers are long, sturdy and freakishly sharp. Sharp enough to penetrate a feisty, gropey hand!
Newspaper lauded these fierce ladies for taking their safety into their own hands. According to the Smithsonian:
In case you still can’t picture it, this is what it looks like to attack an assailant with a hatpin. As the caption states, “This photo was taken straight from a self-defense manual from 1903.”
Of course, the male patriarchy wouldn’t accept this willingly. Cities around the country banned hatpins. Any woman caught in violation faced fines. In Sydney, Australia, women faced jail for wearing “murderous weapons” in their hats.
While the furor over hatpins subsided, it’s awesome to know that this tiny accessory stirred up so much controversy and caused a predatory man to think twice about rubbing up on an unsuspecting dame.
Next time you find a hatpin at your local antique shop, you’ll think of it fondly as a small but significant piece of feminist history.