In honor of women of color like Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, and Nannie Helen Burroughs who worked for women’s suffrage and the 19th amendment’s passage — in spite of their liberal white feminist contemporaries’ racism — and who deserve to be included in an all-too-frequently white-washed history of feminist activism in the U.S., I present Vote Meow.
As a mashup of Hello Kitty and early 20th century suffragettes of color, Vote Meow’s features are both cute and critical — highlighting and reproving women of color’s historical and continuing erasure in U.S. political movements. She has a mouth (Hello Kitty is famously missing one); plum-colored yarn for the cat body (Hello Kitty is, hello, white); dark purple yarn for hair; and turn-of-the-century-style attire in lilac and lavender-colored yarn.
To distinguish womanism from (white) feminism in her first nonfiction collection, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose, Alice Walker writes “Womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender.” This distinction defines womanism, practiced by women of color, as a more holistic and inclusive form of activism than, (white) feminism. It also characterizes (white) feminism as a compartmentalized off-shoot of Womanism.