An activist wears a pañuelo verde during an anti-gender violence protest in Lima, June 2019 (Photo: author’s own)
As well as being a symbol, the pañuelo is also a tangible object that exists in physical space, one that travels with feminists around cities and across borders. On a daily basis, the decision to wear a pañuelo outwardly expresses a feminist identity, communicating with other activists but also exposing oneself to backlash from the public. The position of the pañuelo on the body communicates different messages. On marches, particularly those linked to abortion rights, Peruvian activists wear it in the ‘traditional’ way, tied around the neck, so that the logo and slogan are visible, centring the issue of abortion and reproductive rights. In performances, marches that are not explicitly feminist, or just in their everyday life, feminists may wear it tied around the wrist. This a way of communicating a particular identity in a more subtle way. For example, when feminist activists met with Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra in January 2020, they wore their pañuelos around their wrists, rather than around their necks. When it is tried around the wrist, the slogan disappears, but the green is still visible and communicates the message to those who understand. However, wearing the pañuelo in public, the wearer has to deal with the potential responses of people around them8.