Collection and text by Monique Howie


My motivation in designing the Not Up For Grabs logo was born out of an instinctive need to protect the future of my six-month-old baby girl. I remember so clearly the moment I heard Donald Trump’s disturbing words about woman and our bodies. I was holding Betsy in my arms and my heart sank when I looked down at this curious, sparky being. How could someone in such a position of authority dismiss her and the rest of us as a body part to be grabbed whenever he felt the urge? I couldn’t shake the anger and over the next few weeks this image formed in my mind and I put it on a T-shirt. Then in the lead up to Trump’s inauguration I posted a picture of myself wearing it, along with a heartfelt statement about the importance of using our anger for change. I didn’t expect the response that it created. Within minutes people were requesting T-shirts for themselves and friends to wear at the protest marches that were organised all over the world on the day of Trump’s inauguration. I ended up selling over four hundred of them and donating the profits to the UK Women’s Equality Party.


Afterwards someone made a flippant comment that I should try to sell as many as possible whilst Trump is still in power, but sadly it’s only become ever more apparent that Trump is far from the only man who regards women as second class citizens whose role is to serve them and their various needs. Not too long after, Harvey Weinstein and the true prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace and beyond was finally exposed. This was hardly news to us. But it did finally make the news.Only yesterday I was walking home from the park with my children skipping about me and a van with two men slowly drove past, staring. It wasn’t a great feeling but I did my best to ignore it. Then as I approached the corner of my street I was confronted by those same men, who’d pulled up on the pavement and were shouting to get my attention. My children were oblivious and I directed them down our street without looking back. When I finally did turn around they were pulling away and on with their journey. It later occurred to me how unusual and how normal this type of experience is for most women.. But what happened is not ok. This kind of behaviour needs to stop. I feel confident things are changing. If I was wearing my T-shirt that day would I have reacted differently? As others have reported it certainly makes me feel stronger when I wear it. By being vocal and visible about our attitude we are creating an environment that shouts. We won’t accept this anymore.

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