In all my years of feminist activism, I have never experienced standing in line at a bleak US highway rest stop as a radicalised moment. But there I was in the queue for the ladies’ room with women all around me wearing pink-knit hats with adorable cat’s ears.

“What does the hat mean?” I asked. A woman who looked like an suburban Republican soccer mom said with a grin: “Pussy hats! It’s the Pussyhat Project. For the march.”

And there I noticed was a hippyish 60-year-old in a pussy hat, knitting another one, with her daughter and young grandson nearby.

There was a gaggle of college girls in pussy hats, defiant, tired and laughing from their night on the bus. Everywhere, the hats.