Messages from the March

Part of what has made the Women’s March on Washington memorable and shareable are the signs that the marchers made and carried. These are messages to rally around, and many employ the same literary devices that make great headlines and slogans so effective. Even in the midst of emotional and political discourse — perhaps especially in these situations — there’s a need for the main ideas to be concise, memorable, and repeatable. Using such techniques as alliteration, mirroring, rhyming, onomatopoeia, and other word play can turn a turn of phrase into an instant meme. These messages inspire. They explain. They connect. They emote passion and insight.

Here are some of my favorites: 

 Clever double entendre. © Getty

Clever double entendre. © Getty

 With the cat being symbolic of women and their bodies, this twist on "now" is awesomely appropriate. © Getty

With the cat being symbolic of women and their bodies, this twist on "now" is awesomely appropriate. © Getty

 "Hate" and "great" give this slogan rhyme and contrast. © Getty

"Hate" and "great" give this slogan rhyme and contrast. © Getty

 A double entendre that became quite popular during the election. © Rajesh Jantilal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A double entendre that became quite popular during the election. © Rajesh Jantilal/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 Great mashup between two well-known phrases. © Getty

Great mashup between two well-known phrases. © Getty

 Word mirroring. © Getty

Word mirroring. © Getty

 Playing off of Star Wars (my personal love). © Getty

Playing off of Star Wars (my personal love). © Getty

Along with these messages many powerful images have come out of the women's movement, images that have become iconic and also embroiled in legal battles over their usage rights and intention. For an illuminating dive into the dark side of messages and imagery linked to social change, check out Madeline Morley's "Ripping Off the Resistance." 

Lisa Mullis