Days after Donald Trump was named president-elect, Americans are spreading a message of unity with a simple symbol: a baby pacifier, otherwise known as a ‘binky’. The object may seem confusing to many in the U.S., but to those who lived in the United Kingdom during and after the Brexit vote of this summer, it’s a sight that is becoming increasingly familiar.
In June, millions voted for the U.K. to leave the European Union, and to the surprise of the media and others who decried such a repudiation of bureaucracy and globalism as the worse possible outcome, they won with 52 percent of the vote. But while some celebrated, others were left shocked and afraid the break would actually interrupt their agenda.
And they had a reason to be concerned.
In the aftermath of the June 23 vote to leave the European Union, Britain saw a surge in fomented hysteria with politicians and the media overreacting and overstating what the fallout would be in order to put the fear of god into voters. This is known in inner circles as ‘political gamesmanship’.
“A financial meltdown,” spouted one analyst.
“The end of Britain as we know it,” cried another, “The economy will likely collapse.”
The hashtag #PostBrexitHysteria started trending, as social media users reported excessive whining and unfounded anxiety on buses, city streets and in cafes.
That’s when the binky clip movement began. Baby pacifiers have been found to reduce crying and fussing in infants, particularly during painful procedures or circumstances. So a Twitter user who helped start the social media campaign chose the object as a symbol for adults to help inspire soothing and calming the freak down. The idea being that anyone against the sort of overreaction we’ve been seeing could identify themselves as a ‘pacifier’.
Now months later, Americans are following suit. In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, many groups in the U.S. are exhibiting symptoms of frenzy, hysteria, and dread because they think—as everyone repeatedly told them—the election was about racism, sexism, and xenophobia, a political term describing an irrational fear of words that should start with the letter ‘Z’.
College classes had to be cancelled to allow students to cope. People took days off from work so they could process. Protesters took to the streets, many for financial gain. Some Muslim women in hijabs falsely reported harassment and intimidation. NBC commentators’ heads actually exploded. And I’m pretty sure we saw Martha Raddatz cry.
These frightening instances illustrate why the #binkyclip idea is so timely. It’s a tiny gesture, but it speaks volumes, assuring people that even though they might balk at being in the minority, they are not alone. By Friday, the hashtag #binkyclip trended on Twitter, as dozens of people shared selfies with binkys attached to their clothing.
“Suckling together we will be safe,” one user tweeted.
“My #BinkyClip shows I support those who are reeling from not actually winning for once,” another said. “How about a nice glass of warm milk?”
Trump is a frightening prospect for many Americans who believe he is unfit for office due to his alignment with the Republican Party. It’s only natural that someone so hateful and violent should be targeted with insults and death threats. Plus he hates women and immigrants, which is why there have been calls by protesters from the much more civil and enlightened end of the political spectrum to rape his immigrant wife.
But while these protests rage on across the country, one movement is using a simple yet powerful symbol to show their support for anyone who didn’t get their way: the binky.
By fastening a binky clip to their clothing, people are declaring themselves allies to groups who have been defeated in an election, to show that they stand in solidarity with anyone who might need comfort as they come to realize their ideas might not be as popular as they think.
Check out some of the allies and their powerful messages of hope below…
Social media users understand binky clips won’t solely be the item to bring people together after a heated election, but it’s a start.