A blogger named Clarissa is pissed off about Pussy Riot. But not about the censorship that resulted in their public arrest and conviction: no, she’s pissed because they’re not the right kind of feminists.

 “I would have been bugged by their actions no matter what, but it especially pains me that they have chosen to call themselves feminists,” Clarissa writes in a post titled “Do Ukraine and Russia Need Feminism?”

According to this post, the blogger believes that to be a feminist, one must “engage in a painstaking, slow work of addressing every instance of sexism” and absolutely not “wave your breasts around and jump on an altar, making headlines and getting your picture taken.” Doing so, she believes, will discredit “real” feminists by linking them with “fame-seeking silly clowns.”

She does make some good points about the deep-seated problems with gender roles in Russia and Ukraine leading to female subservience and a high rate of sexual assault. I agree strongly with Clarissa that these issues need to be addressed, and that “There is a dire need in these countries for a feminist movement that will create a different narrative.”

We differ greatly, however, on what that means. In my mind, simply being a woman with an opinion, and voicing that opinion so loudly that it can’t be ignored, is a feminist act.

Clarissa claims that the members of Pussy Riot shouldn’t call themselves feminists because they made a spectacle of their outrage as citizens, rather than specifically as women. They addressed injustices that affect everyone in their country, those traitors, going off message and talking about something other than their vaginas. How dare they try to take part in political discourse? …But isn’t that the entire point of feminism: equality and an audible voice?

The subjugation and victimization of women won’t stop until women are seen as equal and valuable members of society, able to participate in the larger cultural discussion. If sometimes that means waving your breasts around and jumping on an altar, so be it.

Image courtesy of abcnews.go.com

 

 

Tagged in: Russia, Pussy Riot, feminism   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.


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