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Pussy Riot Cover Image

The discussion of women's bodies in politics has been more present today, in the midst of the 2016 election, than ever before. Not only are we seeing political parties bash heads over contraceptive rights and access to abortion, individuals such as Donald Trump— who made national headlines a few weeks back for saying that he’d “grab [a woman] by the pussy”— have made it clear that sexism is alive and well in the political circuit. Many have reacted to Trump’s comments, as well as running mate Mike Pence’s views on abortion, and no one is more upset than Moscow-based punk protest group, Pussy Riot, who have released new hit single entitled “Straight Outta Vagina.”

Pussy Riot is an activist group that was formed in 2011 by Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, as a response to women's and LGBTQ issues, the corrupt political system within Russia, and to show opposition towards the current President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. For seven years, Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot have staged provocative guerrilla-style performances in cities from Moscow to New York; and in that time they have also created a number of videos which have been shared around the world. This past week, the group released songs and music videos called “Straight Outta Vagina”  and "Organs."

"Straight Outta Vagina" stars Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova, who lays down the lyrics, and also features vocals from Desi Mo Bradley and Leikeli47 in the song, although, the two rappers, unfortunately, do not appear in the video. The video stars a number of vocalists, dancers, and bodybuilders brilliantly smashing the patriarchy. It’s fair to say that Pussy Riot really pulled out all the stops to create a multi-layered production that captures the attention of both men and women. In the video description, Pussy Riot explains that they created this song because “Female power and female sexuality are yet [sic] to be discovered. Discussed. Performed. Lived up.” They go on to say that, “The owner of vaginas is not some narcissistic stupid orange ape who’d claim that he could easily grab women by their pussies. The owner of a vagina is a woman. Who wears her vag as a badge of honour,” which makes it very clear that this video is aimed directly at Donald Trump (who has recently been endorsed by Putin himself).

"Organs" also stars Tolokonnikova, although in this video she is performing out of a bathtub filled with blood, and this video is a direct attack on Putin and his administration. Back in 2012, members Tolokonnika, Alyokhina, and Sanytsevich were arrested for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" because of a Pussy Riot performance in a prominent cathedral in Moscow as well as a music video entitled "Punk Prayer—Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!" Yet a two-year jail sentence didn't keep Pussy Riot from protesting Putin. "Organs" centralizes on the destruction that Putin has brought to the people of Russia. And with lyrics like, "My president replaced his dick with an ICBM" and, "I reject you and your Putinist crap," it's doubtful that Putin will be pleased by Pussy Riot's latest political statement. 

We are stoked to see Pussy Riot use their public platform to assert a woman’s right to her own autonomy. Coming from a group that is based on the other side of the world, the video reinforces the notion of feminism acting as a global village that has the potential to tackle a host of intersectional issues and ideals. I hope that Trump and Putin know that they've pissed off the wrong protest group and that the Pussy Riot “army” extends beyond Russia; it includes women around the globe who are taking a stand against their crude sexism.

Photos via Pussy Riot and a Super Fun Productions
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