Okategoriserade From Personal Recollections: A Feminist Tea Party, the Early 1990s

Comment to Pussy Riot: Reflections on Receptions It was at the beginning of the 1990s, Russia’a first post-soviet years. We […]

Published on balticworlds.com on December 20, 2012

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Comment to Pussy Riot: Reflections on Receptions

It was at the beginning of the 1990s, Russia’a first post-soviet years. We were a group of feminists – younger and middle-aged academics – drinking tea together and discussing the current condition of the feminist scene. The big international event that inspired the disparate but determined women activists at that time, both those who called themselves feminists and those who did not, was the 4th World Women’s conference to be held in Peking in 1995: to participate in it was a goal for the sake of which many women’s organisations mobilized their ranks or simply started as organizations. Their activities were held in a dramatic context of solidarity intertwined with competition. At that tea party, we were talking about the latest developments with mixed feelings of wonder at our new power and jealousy against others who seemed to be more agile expropriating it. “Art shows, consciousness raising groups, women’s clubs, — all this is very good, — one of us then said, a feminist philosopher, – but this is not what we need right now. What we need is a female hooligan.” Everybody sighed. Female hooliganism was not our cup of tea.

Who could have thought then that it would take almost twenty years for female hooligans to actually emerge, and who would have thought that they would be capable of dealing such a violent blow like Pussy Riot did, sending shocks throughout the whole of the society, both up and down and left to right. Indeed, the revolutionary 90s never were revolutionary enough to do what they did: an explosion against patriarchy that did not leave a single of the multi-dimensional phallocratic hierarchies unrevealed and unshaken.  With a truly avant-garde gesture, they created an event, a violent conflict, an unprecedented jolt of critical action under the blow of which —  in the glaring flash of which —  there remained not a single line of resistance undisclosed, nor a single one out of the multiple and multi-directed vectors of power that both organize and divide the Russian society today. Little did we know…