I received this button from a friend at the recent Women’s March in Boston.
Other notable paraphernalia included a variety of homemade signs and pussy hats, which created seas of pink at marches around the country.
They were even featured on some iconic Boston characters:
This button, however, was more of a rarity. Google Images reveals some similar ones:
There are even some that were purple, like mine:
Purple is associated with feminism: the mainstream U.S. suffrage movement used purple, white, and gold, which became the colors of the National Women’s Party. This may explain why the button I received and some of the buttons online are purple.
However, I wasn’t able to find my exact button online. With that said, neither the phrase “nasty woman” nor political buttons are new.
During the third presidential debate, Donald Trump referred to his opponent Hilary Clinton as a “nasty woman”. The term quickly became appropriated by Hillary supporters as a way to describe a woman who is feminist and somewhat sassy or otherwise controversial.
Here is one such reinterpretation in which Hillary Clinton is associated with Janet Jackson’s hit song Nasty.
It makes sense that a phrase reimagined so many times would make its way onto a button. One of the most iconic moments in United States political history is the “I like Ike” slogan and accompanying buttons.
The buttons are the visual legacy of the Draft Eisenhower movement, the first successful political draft, or grassroots campaign to convince a private citizen to run for President.
Both “Nasty Woman” and “I like Ike” just work. Whether a slogan is short enough to fit on a button may be a measure of whether it is sufficiently pithy enough to be memorable.
My button, the “I like Ike” buttons, and others like them were valuable during the movements they are associated with for their communicative power, and now are representative of a turning point in history, making them irreplaceable.