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‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’ — US Women Ink Battle Cry With Tattoos


Holding a transcript of her speech in the Senate Chamber, Sen. Elizabeth Warren reacts to being rebuked by the Senate leadership and accused of impugning a fellow senator, Attorney General-designate, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Feb. 8, 2017.

When U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to silence colleague Elizabeth Warren as she gave a speech last month, complaining that "nevertheless, she persisted," few expected his words to become a battle cry for women.

But amid worries about the impact of Donald Trump's presidency on women's rights, “nevertheless, she persisted” is showing up on T-shirts, protest signs, social media and at a small tattoo parlor in Minneapolis, where hundreds of women are getting the phrase etched onto their skin.

The tattoo has proven so popular that the Brass Knuckle Tattoo Studio is booked for the month and temporarily ceased taking new appointments.

“Every single women has had a Mitch McConnell or 10 or 20 in her life trying to tell her how to be and what to do," said Nora McInerny, a 34-year-old author and blogger who triggered the tattoo trend with an accidental public Facebook post.

“He said that to insult her, and really he just pointed out a fantastic trait of hers.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference in Washington, Nov. 9, 2016.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference in Washington, Nov. 9, 2016.

McConnell started it

The uproar started when McConnell, a Republican, tried to end a speech by Warren, a liberal Democrat, on the Senate floor in Washington, saying she was violating a Congressional rule.

“Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech," McConnell said. “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

An accidental invitation

In midwestern Minneapolis, McInerny decided with her friends to get tattoos of the phrase, but she accidentally posted the invitation as a public event on Facebook.

“Suddenly 2,000 people were interested in it,” she said.

The Brass Knuckle Tattoo Studio is charging $75 for the tattoo, most of which is donated to Women Winning, a local organization that encourages women who support abortion rights to run for political office.

Women are getting the tattoos on their forearms, upper arms and even their feet, said one of the shop's tattoo artists who goes by the pseudonym Emily Snow.

“It will not stop. It's constant,” Snow said of the shop's bookings.

Many of the women worry about Trump's plans to roll back access to abortion and contraception, she said.

'Women are just frightened'

Trump has said the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion should be overturned and has vowed to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare program that covered the cost of contraception for millions of women.

“A lot of women are just frightened that the clock's going to turn back in time," she said.

“A lot of us want to join together and have a community. ... And I don't know a single woman who doesn't continue to persist.”

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