When I was a kid, my favorite book was PD Eastman’s Go Dog, Go!
Partly I loved the final image of the dog party in the tree. I still want to go to a party like that.
All of the different colored dogs of the world gathering together to eat cake and bounce on a trampoline in a tree? Come on! Sign me up. Go, Marci go!
The book also has a somewhat odd subplot of a lady dog asking a man dog if he likes her hat. Why she gives a crap if that man dog likes her hat is beyond me. If you like the damn hat, wear it.
The hat subplot recently got a feminist reading here. I encourage you to read the whole article. But here’s a little snippet to whet your appetite.
“And you don’t even know me, but I wanted to take a minute to tell you that what matters is that you like your own hat, hat-wearing female dog. Who is this guy anyway, some sort of dog hat expert?? Who cares what he thinks??? Wear a hat you love and if he doesn’t like it? F*#% him.”
I loved all of her hats when I was a kid.
Women wearing hats everywhere was already a bygone era when I grew up. I loved watching the old films, but I didn’t see many hats in my actual life.
A few weeks ago, I was in Portland for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and across the street from our hotel was an honest to goodness Haberdashery. Of course we had to go!
And we all got haberdashed. And it was so much fun.
And I’ve been wearing both my new and less new hats this week.
And people aren’t sure what to think, although generally I get compliments.
When I wear my hats to church on Sundays, though, people ask why I don’t wear the hat in the pulpit with my robe.
And I don’t have a good answer for why I don’t. It just doesn’t seem quite right. But why?
And then I realized that back when women were wearing hats in worship every week, there weren’t really women preaching in pulpits.
I realized it is better to take my hats off when I drive because a few of them impede my ability to see, and then I realized that back when women always wore hats, many women would have only been passengers in cars.
I realized all of the rules about hats and when to wear them were set for a culture that is not exactly the culture in which I live. One of my male friends posted a picture of some friends at lunch and was chastised for wearing a hat at the table. Which is apparently a rule, but not one I’ve ever really had to notice, since none of my friends have ever worn hats.
Emily Post offers guidelines for hat etiquette here. In a world where women
have broken are breaking gender barriers (Go, Hillary, Go!) why do we still have different rules about when hats can be worn, and why women can wear hats with more freedom than men?
I’m bringing hats back.
I’m still not sure, though, which of the “rules” of a former era still have value, and which have become untethered from their original meaning. What do you think?
I know that back in the day, men would take off their hats in the presence of a lady as a sign of respect. Personally, there are other signs of respect that matter more to me than that. And I like men in hats and want to see more men wearing hats. (Also, jury is out on whether or not I’m a lady.) If men value my intellect, support my right to make my own decisions (health care and otherwise), and do your part to eschew the patriarchy, then you can keep your hats on in my presence.
And if taking off your hat is the best you can do to respect women? Try harder.