“We designed this ourselves,” gushes Abby Holland, brandishing the labial folds of her human-sized vagina costume. Behind her, Julie Rosing, dressed as Donald Trump, lecherously shakes a large plastic container full of Skittles labeled Tic Tacs, a nod to the GOP presidential nominee’s confessed habit of popping a breath mint before encountering a woman whom he may deem pretty enough to grope.
Both women are in front of Trump Tower as part of their work with Lady Parts Justice, the Lizz Winstead-founded group that combines advocacy and comedy (LPJ didn’t organize the protest). And while their colorful presence attracts the lenses of the dozens of news cameras and cellphones, they’re just two of many.
Part protest, part rally, all middle finger raised aloft, Pussy Power at the Trump Tower, held yesterday in front of the shiny Fifth Avenue phallus Donald Trump calls home, felt more like a party than some actual parties. Attendees, well into the hundreds, came bearing their raunchiest signs, their craziest costumes. Little cat ears, an homage to Trump’s comments to Billy Bush about grabbing women “by the pussy,” abounded. One woman showed up in a shirt so sheer she may as well have been topless. An eight-foot-tall “Trumptopus”—that’s an octopus-like costume with eight grabby hands, as Trump was described by one of the women who came forward with abuse allegations to The New York Times—ambles up and down the sidewalk, stopping for photos.
“I’ve organized and participated in many protests over the years,” says writer Jennifer Posner. “And this is the first protest I’ve been to where I wasn’t harassed on the walk here. Must be the sign.”
The signs, they are saucy. “Keep your hands off my pussy!” say several. “Pussy Trumps Hate” is another popular slogan. Some are zen (“Hands off my sacred pussy”), others, less so (“Mein Trump”). The chants, they are also saucy. “Whiny little bitch! Whiny little bitch!” protesters yell at one point.
Trump isn’t here; at this very moment he is in Las Vegas preparing to have his tangerine ass handed to him in his final debate with Hillary Clinton before the election. But calling Trump a bitch to his face isn’t the point.
“I love the optics of this,” says Amanda Duarte, cofounder of Pussy Grabs Back, wearing a tee shirt printed with the name of her movement. “It shows that women are strong and powerful. And we are using that power.”
The protest wasn’t without its detractors. A small gaggle of Trump supporters pace up and down the sidewalk outside of the area the police cordoned off for protesters. A blonde woman, grinning like a ring girl in a boxing match, holds up a sign shaped like an enormous hand giving a thumbs up that reads, succinctly “TRUMP.” One man, bolder than his Trump brethren, made his way into the protest cage, where he stalked back and forth and complained loudly about a garlic smell.
Duarte rolls her eyes. “I think he means our vaginas smell like garlic.”
That’s a new one.
This protest feels gleefully mobbish, and it pulls in the city around it. Three MTA buses and a ConEd truck honk, their male drivers waving and making thumbs up signs at the protesting women, who cheer appreciatively in response. The windows in the back of a large black Escalade with tinted windows roll down and a man shouts “FUCK YES! FUCK TRUMP! FUCK DONALD TRUMP!” again to cheering. Cabs are into it. A crowd of observers gathers on the west side of Fifth Avenue, photographing, filming, giddy. Even the Gucci store in the first floor of Trump Tower, its window display lit with pink neon lights, seemed to be coyly participating. Front and center stands a mannequin wearing a long coat emblazoned with the image of a tiger, the pussy’s wild cousin.
Trump has no hope of winning New York. He’s despised in his hometown. The Pussy Power at Trump Tower protest evokes the feeling of being part of a Halloween fête that got so out of hand that the participants decided en masse to go ahead and storm Dracula’s castle. But instead of pitchforks, they came with cat ears.