Protest attire: what does it say about you?
Are you projecting the image you want when you get dressed to go to a protest? What does your outfit say about you? There are reasons one might want to tone down protest attire. You may not have declared that extra job on your taxes. Or suppose you told friends to meet up at the new Brazilian restaurant then you didn’t show and they all got food poisoning. In those instances you might want to fade into the background and not draw attention to yourself or your existence at a protest or any other place.
Other times you want to stand out, to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Like if you’re a contestant in a beauty pageant or a game show. You want to stand out then. Why sing “Amazing Grace” acapella like every other perfectly-coifed chick in a swimsuit when you can perform ventriloquism while yodeling as your pageant talent? Exactly! To set yourself apart!
This is my long introduction to a conversation I’ve been having lately with legal observer colleagues about whether we should update our uniform at protests. Presently we wear neon green hats as an outward symbol at protests that we are present to observe. The hats proclaim: let the legal observing commence! We are supposed to be highly visible so police and protesters alike know we’re there. We observe at protests to ensure that citizens’ Constitutional rights are able to be freely exercised.
Some people don’t like change and are inclined to stick with the obnoxious nuclear green ball cap, even if the sickly chartreuse glint from the cap does NOTHING for their skin tone. Even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the hat looks more like a tree topper than a piece of apparel on their head. I’m more of a risk taker, so I favor mixing it up a bit. I mean, if you can’t have fun in life, AND look good while doing it, what’s the point? Let’s think outside the stupid green cap, people! We’re being live-streamed! We have Twitter followers! We don’t need to give the haters any more reasons to scream racial slurs at us while they use poor grammar.
Sometimes we get photographed by reporters! At least a few of us might have Match.com or Tinder profiles! I’m not naming names.
I’m throwing out some options for discussion. Your thoughts are welcome.
If you’re stuck on headwear to distinguish yourself, it doesn’t get any better than emulating Pussy Riot. We don’t have to take off our tops or insult Putin in church. We could just have someone knit our heads into a cheerful full-face skull cap. Mission standing-out: accomplished!
This look seems like it’d take far too much maintenance. And Blue Man Group? Would that piss off the officers in blue or give them warm fuzzies? I’m going to put the kibosh on this possibility as too potentially controversial. I’m also tormented by those rumors about Buddy Ebsen giving up the role of Tin Man in Wizard of Oz because his skin couldn’t handle the make-up. If Jed Clampett can’t handle it, I’m sure it’s a bad idea.
This is a playful alternative to the Guy Fawkes masks which are so popular in protesting circles. Classic and iconic. Aside from the obvious claustrophobia of being the man in the iron mask, it might have benefits repelling pepper spray and mace. Probably not a good option in the summer months, however.
Why do heads get to have all the fun? The Legal Observers could wear distinctive footwear instead! A little shin protection at a protest couldn’t be a bad thing! It’s the first step towards dressing like a Storm Trooper.
Or we could wear these ridiculous toe shoes. What? I hear they’re comfortable and you get used to them like you get used to wearing thong bikini underwear.
You might not appreciate the utility of a three dimensional Christmas sweater vest at first blush, but you wouldn’t care what the hell happened to it during a rowdy protest. There is something emancipating about wearing something to a protest you would just as soon burn. Gives you a certain sense of invincibility.
Stay with me here for a minute. Wearing attire that also doubles as a water safety device such as these arm floaties has its upside, and NO ONE else will be wearing these at a protest unless a bunch of four year olds decide to orchestrate a sit-in to advocate for no bed time.
Okay, I can’t seem to get very far from the head wear as distinctive protest attire. It’s just so easy. We could ratchet this sports headband into some serious ninja bad-assery with a little imagination. It’s light and very portable and looks good on all sorts of face types.
I’m still pondering whether we could pull off nautical themed attire as a group without looking like Gilligan’s Island, but there’s something regal about the Protest Tiara. True that it’s delicate, but I think it presents a sort of authority and poise that The Movement could benefit from. Just sayin’.