Elizabeth Poe, the owner of the Joy of Knitting in Franklin, Tenn. — located just outside Nashville — is not here for your pink pussy hats.
On Tuesday, Poe posted on the shop’s Facebook page that following this past weekend’s Women’s March on Washington, D.C., she would prefer that participants and supporters of the protest and its efforts not patronize her shop.
“The vulgarity, vile and evilness of this movement is absolutely despicable. That kind of behavior is unacceptable and is not welcomed at The Joy of Knitting. I will never need that kind of business to remain open,” Poe writes. “As the owner of this business and a Christian, I have a duty to my customers and my community to promote values of mutual respect, love, compassion, understanding, and integrity. The women’s movement is counterproductive to unity of family, friends, community, and nation.”
She concludes her note, “I do pray for these women. May God work out His love in their hearts and continue to heal and unite Americans.”
The backlash, however, has been intense and swift, with thousands of comments filling the Joy of Knitting’s Facebook page voicing feelings otherwise. Within two days, more than 9,000 comments had been left on Poe’s original post.
“Oh, Elizabeth, honey, you are living in a fool’s paradise. Your beloved president is a liar, a cheat, a thief and a sociopath, and if he isn’t removed from office he will plunge us into war or a nuclear holocaust,” wrote one commenter.
One individual who sounded off, an ordained minister, weighed in as well, saying, “I’m an ordained minister and pastor a church. I literally read the Gospel every day. I doubt you do, because if you did, you would know that standing up for justice for the oppressed, equality, and healing were the central messages of Jesus. Those were also the goals of the Women’s Marches. Also, your president says he likes to grab women by the p***y, and you don’t think that’s vulgar, but you do think women knitting pink hats shaped like cat heads is vulgar?!?! I’m praying for you. You obviously have a lot of hate for women and yourself.”
In reply to the thousands of haters, Poe shared, “Please, this is not going to be used as a platform to hash out your beliefs v. my beliefs. I said my peace. I am sorry that you don’t agree with my policy. I am certainly willing to live with my decision.”
In response to Poe’s response, one commenter wrote, “No — you made this a platform when you posted this. You cannot spew your hatefulness then say no one can disagree with you. Keep your opinions to yourself if you don’t want others to express theirs as well. Praise the lord — you Faux Christian.”
“You hashed out your personal beliefs on this platform so why can’t your followers? That’s the same attitude come from the Trump administration; your thoughts matter but ours doesn’t? How can you expect to drop such political napalm in your business page and not expect your customers, many of whom you just alienated with such words, to push back? With an ‘us vs them’ attitude, how can any of us coexist? Curious to your thoughts on this,” wrote another.
Poe has also since commented to clarify that she did indeed mean to say that she’s said her “peace” and not said her “piece,” after the first was used in place of the latter in her post.
“As a Christian, could you operate your business by showing the love of Jesus to all? Even those you disagree with?” wrote one commenter who got a reply from Poe.
Poe wrote back, “I will not support the platform these women have chosen to advance their cause. Parading around in a vagina costume degrades all women. Trashing the streets with their ugly signs undermines their efforts. They have shown much ugliness with the toxiccomments [sic]. They prove my point. My business is thriving. I have many men, women, gays and lesbians that are regulars. The march degraded them too. This march really set the movement back. Not good.”
Meanwhile, Virginia Johnson, the owner of Gather Here in Cambridge, Mass., a shop that held knit-a-long events for pussy hat makers for the Women’s March, posted Thursday on her shop’s blog about her own experience participating in the D.C. protest.
“I (Virginia) was fortunate enough to march with my friends on Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C.,” Johnson writes. “We saw so many people wearing pink hats. Some had been sewn. Some crocheted. Some made from recycled sweaters and felted. Handmade. Hand-stitched. I felt pride in our fiber community. Similar to when we all decided to make comfort quilts for Pulse Nightclub victims and their families. Or the Quilts for Boston campaign. Here is a community that will stitch all night for someone, likely a total stranger, so they can exercise their right to assemble and march for women’s rights/human rights/refugee rights/healthcare. Sure, there are some that wish the hats weren’t pink but let me tell you, *we* could be seen. The power of handmade glowed in all of those aerial shots of the marches in cities across the world.”
She concludes, “So in the aftermath, when ‘they’ question how we could have churned out that many pink (and red, mauve, raspberry, blush, pinot, plum, azalea, and every magenta shade on the spectrum) hats, do NOT let them strip you of your pride. You have every reason to be proud of this moment. You have every right to be proud of what YOU MADE WITH YOUR HANDS. And I can’t wait to see what you’ll make next. I have no doubt the energy and focus we channeled into pussy hats will be directed towards major change — this wasn’t a moment, it was a movement. I believe in YOU.”
As of publication, Poe had not yet replied to Yahoo Style’s request for comment.