LOUISVILLE — "Nevertheless, she persisted."
That's what U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said when he tried to shush Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on the Senate floor last month. During Senate debate on the nomination of fellow senator, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, to be attorney general, Warren was reciting Coretta Scott King's 1968 letter against Sessions.
Now, it's more than a quote. It's a movement.
And permanent, as in tattoos.
The quote is becoming a worldwide battle cry for women and is also the newest rage when it comes to skin ink.
The quote is showing up on T-shirts, protest signs and social media. Look at all the women getting the tattoos and posting on Instagram:
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Nevertheless she persisted [Malgré tout, elle a persisté] est fièrement tatoué sur mon bras! En guise de rappel pour celles qui ont persisté avant moi et en guise de motivation pour que je continue à le faire. En cette Journée internationale des femmes, je nous souhaite à toutes de persister. #neverthelessshepersisted #shepersisted #journéeinternationaledelafemme #8mars #feminism #feminist #ink #tattoo #tatouage #persiste #femmes #droitsdesfemmes #womenrights
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Actually, there's a story behind the tattoo movement.
But those condescending words — “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless..." — got right into my bones. I told my friend Chelsea Brink, a designer and hand-letterer who designed several of my other tattoos, “you should design a ‘she persisted’ tattoo.” It turns out, she’d also been asked to by a mutual friend. And a few of my friends wanted them, too. And while I was talking to my tattoo-artist friend Emily, I had an idea: what if we picked a day for everyone to come in and get the same tattoo for a flat rate, and gave some of the money to a local non-profit? Chelsea was in. Emily was in. Our friend Kate was in. And I made a Facebook event for us.
Purmort said that, in a few days, nearly 2,000 people had shown interest, and at the event more than 100 women (and a few guys) showed up to get the tattoo in Minneapolis.
We got these tattoos for our mothers and grandmothers, for perfect strangers. We got them for the wives and daughters of all these commenters who are so adamant that the idea of female resilience is unworthy of noticing or commending, that the best thing you can do is just shut up about it, already.
We got them for us. Because we’ve buried husbands and babies. Because we’ve suffered and survived. Because we’ve each had a few dozen Mitch McConnells in our lives, never shy to let us know when we are being too loud, too ambitious, too difficult, too much. But it’s not about our Mitches. It’s a small celebration of resilience, a tiny high-five for the difficult business of being alive in the world. Yes, I persisted. Even after my husband died in my arms. Yes, my grandmother persisted, even after burying her son. Yes, my friend persisted, even through breast cancer. Yes, she persisted. Whoever she is, whatever she went through.
Want the original design? Check it out here.
Follow Taylor M. Riley on Twitter: @TaylorRileyCJ