Okategoriserade Pussy Riot and Femen: Strategies of Symbolic Violence

Comment written jointly with Irina Sandomirskaja on Pussy Riot: Reflections on Receptions However, in the post-modern Russian society, radical protest […]

Published on balticworlds.com on december 20, 2012

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Comment written jointly with Irina Sandomirskaja on Pussy Riot: Reflections on Receptions

However, in the post-modern Russian society, radical protest against authoritarianism and patriarchy takes the form of symbolic, not physical, violence to challenge not so much the power of the state or a class as power that is stored in social and cultural attitudes: the established social, artistic and moral normativity, the norms of taste and propriety. In this context Pussy Riot’s performances should be (and are) compared with the radical Ukrainian feminist protesters Femen who organize topless demonstrations near important historical monuments and at the places of important international official events.  Among the latest actions of this group there was also one against Putin during the electoral campaign, after which Femen were deported from Russia[1]. It is necessary to note, however, that while admitting certain similarities in feminist inspiration, the participants of Pussy Riot insist that their interest lies in queer aesthetics and more complex forms of multi-medial expression rather than in provoking and angering males in power by sheer nudity as the Femen group does. Still, the political component was too strong to be ignored.[2] And their complex aesthetic did not help them against a storm of violently abusive pornographic comments addressed to them not only in blogs but also on public television.

references

  1. See “Aktivistku FEMEN deportirovali iz Rossii na Ukrainu”, BBC, 9.03.2012 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/russia/2012/03/120309_femen_deportation.shtml
  2. Ekaterina Samutsevich (Pussy Riot) “My ne budem prosit Presidenta nas pomilovat” (Interview to “Novaia gazeta” by Elena Masiuk ) http://www.novayagazeta.ru/society/53998.html, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Pussy Riot) ”My posazheny po politicheskim motivam, v etom somnevat’sia nevozmozhno” (Interview to “Novaia gazeta” by Elena Masiuk) - http://www.novayagazeta.ru/society/53999.html