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  • Safety pin politics in the election aftermath

    The Boston Globe - 11/15/2016

    Sarah J. Jackson, an assistant professor of communication studies at Northeastern University, explained why this seemingly innocent symbol has come under fire.

    “While symbolic communication can often mean a lot to the person wearing the symbol, sometimes it’s missed by the larger society,” she said.

    For one thing, a safety pin is something that can be overlooked or misinterpreted — after all, the person wearing it may not even be making a political statement; they might simply be missing a button.

    Jackson recited some of the questions critics are raising: “Why a safety pin? Why not something more explicit? Why not wear a Black Lives Matter pin, or say something against sexism, as opposed to doing something so subtle and symbolic?”

    “The vagueness of the meaning is where it’s become controversial,” she said. “If wearing a safety pin makes you feel better, then fine, but actually do something. . . . We have real work that has to be done and I suggest we get started.”

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