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Aug 23 2012

Spinster aunt is informed that Pussy Riot’s ideological carpet doesn’t match drapes

Madonna in Moscow

You may have noticed the Free Pussy Riot banner up there.* Mindlessly swept up in the zeitgeist of the moment, I had intended to display it for a day or two as a kind of satiric gesture making fun of the wackaloon mainstream media frenzy over the Pussy Riot case. Then, because my Internet feminist habits have become slovenly, I didn’t bother to make any editorial remarks about it. So here it still is, flapping in the breeze, without a drop of critical analysis to quench its thirst for context.

I suck.

Fortunately, the continued loom of the Pussy Riot banner has inspired a few vigilant readers to send up a blame-flare. They cite an excellent and provocative blog post on the subject at Radfem Hub. In this post a rat is smelled and the rotten insides of the Western coverage of the Pussy Riot case are subsequently excavated and run up the feminist flagpole for all seven of the world’s radical feminists to see.

[I will concede that running excavated insides up a flagpole, as well as the idea that a flagpole might even be described as "feminist", are contingencies that may only exist in a very poorly constructed metaphor. Moving on.]

The aforementioned Radfem Hub post gleams like a golden jaundiced eye at the very pinnacle of world class patriarchy-blaming.

“Now while I support without ambiguity the liberation of Pussy Riot’s members, it’s worth pausing for a minute to ask ourselves, as radical feminists, what the political dynamics are here. Why would Western media denounce so passionately the repression of feminists in Russia, when it usually only diffuses information that supports male supremacy and patriarchy? Feminism has long disappeared from any malestream media, except when journalists can turn it into male masturbation material, that is pornify either our suffering or our resistance to it [sic]. What’s going on here?”

This is the essence of the blaming method.

First you observe a thing. Then, because you weren’t born yesterday and therefore are perfectly aware that nothing exists that doesn’t promote the continued subjugation of the sex class, you examine the thing closely to determine the ways in which it supports an antifeminist culture of domination. The object of your scrutiny can literally be anything: a behavior, a practice, a movie, a law, a cultural norm, a piece of art, a bestseller, a YouTube video, a trial verdict, a scientific study, an unspoken rule, a turn of phrase, an internet meme, a photograph, a local custom, a medical procedure, a paradigm, an article of clothing, a blog post, your lunch, or a media frenzy over the imprisonment of a Russian all-girl punk band. If you conduct it unflinchingly, your examination absolutely will, I can guaran-fucking-tee without the slightest hesitation, bear flaming blaming-fruit. Patriarchal oppression replicates itself in every detail of human existence.

“What’s going on here?” should be the motto of every dedicated blamer.

In the case of the Pussy Riot whoopdeedoo, it seems that quite a lot is going on, most of it untoward, unsavory, and, it goes without saying, antifeminist. Quoth the author of the post, echoing another patriarchy-blaming maxim (If the liberal peen is keen, the result can only demean):

“You can measure the degree of feminism of an action by how men react to it, and if men collectively cheer and celebrate it, then you can be pretty sure there’s something wrong about it, or that it doesn’t somehow support our liberation from men. And as far as I can recall, even the slutwalks didn’t get as much coverage or public appraisal. What was it that men liked so much about Pussy Riot?”

Apart from, of course, the opportunity to say the word “pussy” 37,265 thousand times a day with complete impunity?

It turns out, according to Radfem Hub, that Pussy Riot is something akin to a women’s auxiliary of a Russian gang of pervy dude anarchists.** Known collectively as Voina, the group exploit the women in public stunts involving torture porn and humiliation. Read the post for the lurid details; they disgust me too much to summarize here. Suffice it to say that, although the Pussy Riot women are branded by Western media as militant feminists and masked avengers championing the cause of freedom, the freedom in question is only sexual, and is sought so assiduously merely to preserve male sexual access to degraded, roach-covered meat toilets. Pussy Riot are now characterized, not as feminists, but as sex slaves.

This is the only kind of “feminism” anyone around here ever sees anymore. Slutwalks, Boobythons, “nude revolutionaries,” 12-year-olds in Times Square wearing cheerful, colorful knitted bondage masks in solidarity with women’s sexual “empowerment.” [NYTimes] P.U.

Which might explain Madonna’s interest in the case; any excuse to perform a striptease onstage, right Madge?

The enpornulated antifeminist specifics of the Pussy Riot case notwithstanding, here at Spinster HQ we continue to pull for the release of the group from prison, as we do for all women who are imprisoned, exploited, and oppressed.

Anyway, the moral of the story is trust no one. Remember, if the liberal peen is keen, the result can only demean.

____________________
* For the benefit of future blamers who have come across this post after the Free Pussy Riot banner has been taken down, here it is.

** These pornsick Voina knobs are referred to by the NY Times as an “art group.” Their repellent antics with a dead chicken et al may be reviewed in the Radfem Hub post. The Times describes Voina’s stunts as “brazen forms of dissent” but makes no mention of their mondo-degrading sexploitative nature, even as it extols “the ladies of Pussy Riot”‘s feminist moxie.

Madonna photo from Guardian.co.uk.

Thanks to TwissB and the commenter posting as “reader”.
__________________

98 comments

3 pings

  1. yttik

    “Remember, if the liberal peen is keen, the result can only demean.”

    Love that!

    Anecdote time, but this is one of my pet peeves, women who join liberal causes to save the world, mostly because I’ve seen so many women hurt and betrayed. The story always goes something like this, “I’ve met this magic man and we’re going to change the world!” The next step is that I become a threat to the relationship, cult, cause, because of my skepticism, so I’m out and she’s now completely isolated. Without fail she winds up sleeping with him, his followers, cleaning, cooking, financing the deal, while he sits there and levitates. It makes me crazy every time I see it happen.

    The patriarchy likes to seduce women with words like, “freedom,” or “sustainability,” and you really have to be a bitter old feminist like me to cringe when you hear those things, but damn it, after a few decades it just gets so predictable.

  2. Rachele

    Sweet merciful bejeezus. Clear a path to the vomitorium. That was the most awful thing I have read in a long time. And now I hate Banksy, whose cleverness I used to enjoy. Here I was, walking around in a blissful state of not giving a crap. But then, that’s why I read here: to get an eyeful of the horrendous nature of dudenation because I am not very good at asking what is really going on. Yet my jaundiced eye grows stronger with every post.

  3. smash

    Thanks for calling out the hub piece, Twisty. I was also shocked and informed by it.

  4. Fictional Queen

    I am skeptical of any females who call themselves awful things like that! What kind of a terrible band name is that? I don’t see any sense in calling yourself demeaning things, it’s repulsive.

  5. KittyWrangler

    “You can measure the degree of feminism of an action by how men react to it [...]”

    Is everyone else here completely on board with this? I’ve always considered the impact on women to be the ultimate measure of the degree of feminism of anything, not on men. Sure, it’s something very important to consider but in general– I’m not really thinking about Pussy Riot here– it seems to privilege what men think over what women think. To give an example, the liberal peen is keen on contraception but foremost in my mind is the improvement to quality of life for many women that it allows.

    Re: US news coverage of the Pussy Riot trial; no surprise there. At least three major porn themes are represented here: sexy bad girls in prison, punishing girls, and Russian spy-themed stuff; and free speech in the name of viewing hot girls is a favorite of liberal dudes. I guess that’s not exactly fair since everything women do is now a porn theme of some sort; but yes I was not surprised this gained steam in the press.

  6. AlienNumber

    Well, Fictional Queen, the band’s name is obviously a male invention, duh!
    But I’m skeptical of them females who didn’t protest too much too.

    on topic, I really appreciated this article: http://cherryblossomlife.com/2012/08/21/in-memory-of-anna-politkovskaya-the-woman-who-frightened-the-russian-state/

  7. quixote

    yttik: “she winds up sleeping with him, his followers, cleaning, cooking, financing the deal, while he sits there and levitates.”

    Gallows humor but, dog!, is that funny. Thanks for my first laugh of the day!

  8. quixote

    And, as a side note, can you imagine if women turned all that make-it-happenness to their own causes?

  9. Twisty

    @KittyWrangler: By definition a revolutionary act must upset the status quo; any feminist act that doesn’t galvanize DudeNation against women’s liberation is probably lacking in revolutionary mettle. So yeah, dude reaction to feminist acts is a pretty good barometer.

    Just to briefly comment on your example: dudes are keen on contraception because it facilitates their sexual freedom, sure, but the only kind of contraception they’re down with is the kind that puts all the responsibility on women. If women went around demanding mandatory vasectomies or Depo Provera or rubbers or Rape-X or what have you, dudes would crack down, which would signal that we were probably on the right track, liberation-wise. Women currently benefit from access to contraception, but because we are also all inherently dirty sluts we are made to jump through 42,761 hoops in order to experience the pleasure of shouldering all the responsibility for preserving dudely fancy-free sex. Note that there is still no male equivalent of the Pill.

  10. Twisty

    To clarify my last point: women’s liberation from male oppression is the goal of feminism. Pissing off dudes is the unavoidable by-product of the revolution.

  11. The Nerd

    Jen, creator of Boobquake, has recently posted: “Boobquake made me wake up. What I originally envisioned as an empowering event about supporting women’s freedoms and calling out dangerous superstitious thinking devolved into ‘Show us your tits!’ … I now realize I was never truly welcome in this [atheist] movement. I just managed to unwittingly sneak in before I opened my big fat feminist mouth.” http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/how-i-unwittingly-infiltrated-the-boys-club-why-its-time-for-a-new-wave-of-atheism/ While one might be tempted to toss in a “I told you so”, it would seem to be redundant at this point.

  12. awhirlinlondon

    “Women’s liberation from male oppression is the goal of feminism. Pissing off dudes is the unavoidable by-product of the revolution.”

    At this point, the by-product is looking like a gigantic fucking reward.

    Done. Done with this. Done. Lost it.

  13. antelope

    Sometimes I think all the Republican madness these days is a hopeful sign.

    There’s that quote that makes the rounds, which might or might not be from Gandhi:

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    There’s still plenty of ignoring & laughing going on – but there’s more fighting nowadays, too.

    Progress?

    It’s sure as hell a sign that they’re scared anyway.

  14. Saurs

    As the essence of this post is contrarianism (which is my second middle name), I’mma go ahead and call off-topic shenanigans on linking to transphobic shitheads. There. Shenanigans.

  15. yttik

    Thanks for the link to Jen of boobquake fame. Heavy sigh. This was kind of cute though, “Litter clean-ups and blood drives can only say so much when you’re simultaneously threatening your fellow activists with rape and death.”

    Ah Jen, you are not alone. Object to the objectification and out come the torches and pitchforks from all those people you thought shared your ideals.

  16. liz

    I see your point but… did you read their statements? They aren’t the media coverage of them or the reaction to them. Anyway, I liked their statements a lot: http://nplusonemag.com/pussy-riot-closing-statements

  17. stacey

    The delirious poetry of excavated insides and feminist flagpoles once again confirms the sublimity of your writing, Twisters. I love thee.

  18. ElizaN

    Right there with you, awhirlinlondon!

    A rape apologist MP was fired from his magazine columnist position for being a rape apologist. The joy makes me do the butt-dance even while my head is trying to explode from learning that he is in the Respect party.

    http://www.guardian.co dot uk/politics/2012/aug/22/george-galloway-sacked-holyrood-rape

  19. minervaK

    “What’s going on here?” should be the motto of every dedicated blamer.

    This sentence proves that you do not, in any way, shape or form, suck.

  20. Zir In The Skirt

    (Please disregard if this ends up as a double post. Some weird error occurred.)

    I’m about to explode into elements here.

    Every day, it’s like I wake up in the Mentrix, only I can’t find the cord to disconnect from the back of my brainstem. It’s a life long running joke. Really, it’s been super hilarious here on planet Men–er I mean planet Earth, but seriously now where’s the release button to set me free of all this? Ha ha, no, seriously. Where’s the button? There’s no button? You’re still joking, right? What do you mean there’s no release button? F**************************k.

    My young budding feminist self was drawn to atheism for the fact that it inherently dismisses the idea of (if nothing else) a supernatural reason for “women deserve this lot in life”. But, that’s not enough is it? Every single thing (Every.Single.Thing.) a woman does is always seen by the P as “cute” or “sexy” or entirely dismissed as “angry”. She promotes atheism? How adorable! Hope she shows us her tits, because why else would a woman want to do anything in her life that doesn’t help with the boners! Oh, it’s not a question. There really is just no other reason why a woman would want to do anything according to the P.

    I’m with awhirlinlondon.

    At this point, having men be openly furious with me for existing would be a great improvement over seeing their already barely contained hatred.

    Now to find that button they must be lying about not existing.

  21. reader

    Glad you made this post. Reading that Hub article was like a slap in the face even though I knew barely anything at all about the Pussy Riot. I guess I just saw some bad-ass looking punk women protesting for a good cause and was hoping that this was one of those few rare moments when media shows us good female role models that aren’t stripping. Should have known better.

    I think one of the reasons why Pussy Riot is so popular with the “liberal peen” is because they are foreigners. You’ve probably noticed how much western media loves to high light the struggle of foreign women in their countries (muslim women are most popular) so they can point a finger there and go “Look! Those women have it much harder than you! Why are you still whining?”

    Seeing all the hypocrisy in current mainstream feminism and the liberals/lefties in general sometimes makes me think that they are actually worse than all the conservatives who want to bring world back to the middle ages. At least conservatives are pretty much open on their hatred on women while liberals work hard to make it harder for us while pretending to be on our side. I remember when I was a kid and seriously thought that if I’d just find me some nice, “open minded”, “progressive” man, I’ wouldn’t have to go trough all the crap most of the women around me dealt with. Haha. Liberal dudes just figured out that they get laid more when they pretend to see us women as human beings, there’s nothing more to it.

    Conservative type of sexism might be slowly dying, but worry not because the liberal type seems to be getting worse so in the end it probably evens out and we have the same amount of woman hatred as we did when we started. Just you know… in new package. Fun, sexy package, no doubt.

  22. tinfoil hattie

    “carpet doesn’t match the drapes”

    Why, why, WHY are you so damn FUNNY? How? Whence doth it come?

  23. allhellsloose

    I’m glad you posted this. They should be freed; freed from prison; freed from the patriarchy!

  24. TwissB

    @Twisty 4:10 & 4:29 , not to mention the new banner candidate: “What’s Going On Here?”- Nothing like getting slammed back to basics. That’s the one good thing that can be said for the PRiot frenzy.

    Just heard a renowned lady broadcaster and her circle of media stalwarts talking about how candidate Akin took major campaigns off message to discuss “the social issues.” Care to join my personal campaign of calling or writing in to tell media mouths to stop covering for misogynists and homophobes and start calling discrimination by its rightful name? They went all incredulous about the proposed GOP platform that wouldn’t even allow for Exceptions for rape and incest, as if that were a valid concept.

    For a little respite, go to YouTube and hear Taylor Ferrara sing about “Legitimate Rape” and encore with her right pitiful country weeper “Chick Fil A Broke My Heart.”

  25. TwissB

    “TwissB
    August 24, 2012 at 9:14 am (UTC -6) Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    Timeliness means nothing to Moderation aka Durance Vile.

  26. TwissB

    Apologies to Twisty for forgetting where I got that initial link to “Legitimate Rape” song.

  27. Twisty

    @TwissB ” not to mention the new banner candidate: “What’s Going On Here?”

    Done and done.

  28. Carpenter

    So I read Pussy Riot’s closing statements which I found on Echidne

    http://nplusonemag.com/pussy-riot-closing-statements

    On the whole I find that they are pretty right on. seems to me these are some smart articulate radicals but that they have have bought into an unfortunate tactic in opposing the status quo. I understand wanting to send a big ‘Fuck You’ to corporate bourgeois decency. Throughout the years I’ve know a lot of otherwise awesome radical leaning women that pulled similar stunts and it always pissed me off because I felt like there was always this same blind spot-if only they had thought of this one more political implication of their actions. I cannot get behind calling them sex-slaves- to me they seem like some smart and brave but flawed chicks who are guilty of very sloppy thinking.

  29. Heart

    What a great post! Thanks, Twisty, I shared it.

  30. Twisty

    @Carpenter: Well, they’re sex slaves in the sense that they’re affiliated with some pretty godawful pornwrecked dudes. I hope you didn’t, because it will have scarred you for life, but did you happen to see the photograph of rioter Nadezhda Tolokonnikova getting reamed in the ass by her charming Voina husband, while nine months pregnant, in a public museum? I don’t know if the Voina stunt with the dead chicken and the “vacuous cunt” involved a member of Pussy Riot, but that image is one of the most disturbing, misogynist things I have ever seen. I would give a week’s worth of tacos to unsee that shit.

    Real liberation from oppression cannot obtain without feminist revolt, and feminist revolt cannot occur while the militants are literally and publicly butt-fucked by liberal dudes and calling it activism.

  31. Shelby

    Carpenter check out the fake prison bars on the photograph attached to the story you linked. There aint nothing sexier or slavier than a young hot chick behind bars or a chainwire fence. I feel sick.

  32. Bushfire

    The carpet-not-matching-the-drapes comments is absolutely brilliant. Also, I love the new banner.

    /rave.

  33. Lidon

    Twisty, your “scrutinizing” is missing an “i”!

  34. Carpenter

    The Atlantic has an article referring to the band as “Manic Pixie Dream Dissidents”, onto which the media is projecting all kinds of hackneyed narratives-such as the damsels in distress. Hence, I believe the photo of nice girls behind bars attached to their closing statements.

    Didn’t manage to look at any NSFW pictures. I totally agree about the radicals getting but-fucked. I also know that fancy-ass surrealists and situationists that anarchists idolize also loved to try to stick it to polite society by relying on all kinds of misogyny (George Bataille anyone?).

    This is all pretty crazy making, and I have the same feelings about this as I had about a lot of Riot Grrl stuf from back in the day. I gotta respect people that stand up in the face of autocrats. I dig their points about the church being a wing of the state (controlled by a Putin flunky yet), and Imploring the Holy Virgin to drive away Putin in song deserves props. At the same time it amazes me that women who have it right on about this stuff are still willing to subjugate themselves to jerk manarchist boyfriends- who we all have notice do not have their asses on the line with prison sentences. I am finding it hard to strike the right balance between agreeing with their critique of autocratic power, and condemning their lack of insight into gender politics. It was my experience back in the day that most Riot Grrl type chicks would even talk the talk about liberation of women, but then turn around and participate in “transgressive” acts that really just reinscribed gendered power dynamics.

  35. Carpenter

    Just to clarify, when I wrote that “they” were pretty right on, I was referring to Pussy Riot’s closing statements and not to the band as whole and to the sum of its past actions. This is probably some kinf od mortal sin in grammar-land. Apologies.

  36. Twisty

    “Twisty, your “scrutinizing” is missing an “i”!”

    Everyone’s a critic.

  37. Lidon

    Haha okay I’ll stop scrutinizing!

    I also know that fancy-ass surrealists and situationists that anarchists idolize also loved to try to stick it to polite society by relying on all kinds of misogyny (George Bataille anyone?).

    Different packaging, same stuff underneath.

  38. thatlush

    “If the liberal peen is keen, the result can only demean.” That is some hilarious-because-it’s-true shit right there (see also: “cheerful, colorful knitted bondage masks”: hahahahahaha!). Twisty, you are so refreshing, and I mean that for real. I laughed out loud – and you’ll note that I spelled that shit out in full, so as not to incur any wrath; because i care about your feelings and shit.

  39. Linda

    Hoyden About Town now appear to be giving Twisty the credit for exposing the misogyny of Voina. Not citing your sources is really not cool.

  40. Friend of Snakes

    Hoyden About Town now appear to be giving Twisty the credit for exposing the misogyny of Voina. Not citing your sources is really not cool.

    Twisty mentions Radfem Hub four times in her piece and links to it on her initial mention. Are you wanting, like, academic-looking footnotes, or what?

    By the bye, I note that Radfem Hub occasionally puts up articles – and this is one of those instances – where the only attribution for same is “HUB Newsfeed.” So I reckon that Mr. or Ms. Newsfeed has been hiding his or her light under a basket.

  41. Linda

    The comment about not citing sources is directed at Hoyden, not Twisty. I assumed that would be understood given that I have obviously read Twisty’s citation, evidenced by the fact that I have commented on the post.

  42. Twisty

    The choppy seas of Internet attribution can be difficult to navigate. Levels of sourcing can pile up exponentially as blogger links to blogger links to HuffPo links to Reuters.

    Unless I’m missing something, the Hoyden post to which Linda alludes doesn’t give me credit for anything (nor, indeed, does it mention me at all); it’s actually a Hoyden commenter (Helen at #2) who links to this post. Anyone who has slogged through the Byzantine IBTP Commenter Guidelines knows that I support source citing in Internet endeavors, but I have to say that when the weak link comes at the comment level, I think it may not warrant too big a ruckus. In this case, linking to my article at least indirectly points back to HUB Newsfeed; a lotta the time you don’t even get that much. Of course, the whole thing could have been made perfect by the insertion of the word “via.”

    I am about to write a post on this very topic; don’t touch that dial.

  43. noton

    “Real liberation from oppression cannot obtain without feminist revolt, and feminist revolt cannot occur while the militants are literally and publicly butt-fucked by liberal dudes and calling it activism.”

    ##

    That applies here Twisty with you and the trans you protect and validate and allow to butt-fuck us.

  44. quixote

    Love the “What’s going on here?” banner. I keep coming back just to look at it and feel a grin spread over my face.

  45. Twisty

    @noton:

    I’m afraid you are confused. I do not personally “protect” anyone, “validate” anyone, or “allow” anyone to butt-fuck anyone. In fact, I am but a lone aunt blogging in the wilderness once or twice a month to a puny audience. I do not command an army, run an ashram, or lead a cult of diabolical butt-fuckists. If you are being butt-fucked against your will — and it sounds like you are — I suggest you blame the patriarchy.

  46. eb

    Enjoyed the Radfem Hub link. Because, you know, behind every fun feminist there’s a strong liberal dude levitationalist.

    Hi-ever (as they say in east Texas), off topic, but not really because it’s all “same shit different day”, there is Oscar buz buzzing around Helen Hunt. Have you heard? It’s a daring role. Yes it is. If you haven’t heard, take a guess at her role:

    a: nun
    b: prostitute

    Go check it out and see if you answered correctly.

  47. AoT

    In regards to their name. It doesn’t have the same connotations in Russian as it does in the US as a sort of vulgar term. It’s closer to kitten, or something like that. I don’t know if the band themselves are responsible for the name or if it’s a translation that was made by the English speaking press. Which doesn’t make it not problematic, but I think that Kitten Riot is definitely more of an awesome name.

  48. Linda

    That’s very true, Twisty. In this case though, the commenter linking to you is one of the major contributors to the blog. I’m just tired of the work of radical feminists being erased and I thought it was a mention.

  49. Twisty

    “I’m just tired of the work of radical feminists being erased”

    Amen to that, sister.

  50. Twisty

    “It doesn’t have the same connotations in Russian as it does in the US as a sort of vulgar term. It’s closer to kitten, or something like that.”

    Sorry, but one has only to take the most cursory glance at their enpornulated “oeuvre” to rule out the possibility that their band name is a mis-translation of the word “kitten.” The band members are all pretty fluent in English and they’re not morons. They know exactly what they’re doing with the whole pussy thing.

  51. nails

    I asked at radfemhub but didn’t get an answer- what was the stated goal of the stunts? What were they trying to accomplish?

  52. Linda

    FoS, also, are you suggesting that the post on Radfem Hub is somehow not attributable or not really the intellectual property of Radfem Hub?

    Nails, I think the Voina stunts were supposedly demonstrating how the people get fucked over by the state. The chicken stunt appears to be about getting a free meal out of a food corporation giant. Of course getting that message across just couldn’t be done without fucking over their women in the process. Literally.

  53. quixote

    Russian was my first language. From what I’ve heard — I don’t follow this band in any way, so take it for what it’s worth — they named their band with the English name precisely because of what it meant. In general, in Russian language press their name was the transliterated English since there’s no real Russian equivalent. (Not that there isn’t plenty and to spare of misogynist garbage in Russian. Just not that garbage.)

    The translations started coming up when the court case happened. For court purposes, the translation was, approximately, “kitties raising a ruckus.” I just about fell out of my chair laughing.

  54. Carpenter

    According to Wikipedia, source of all true information in the universe, Pussy Riot had a very public schism with Voina in 2009. I don’t Pussy Riot think they can be blamed for the chicken stunt, or later arson voina was involved in.

  55. Carpenter

    Read more of the wiki-article, I cant blame members of Pussy Riot for the chickn stunt, but I can blame them for forcible kissing female police officers. Bleh.

    http://www.animalnewyork.com/2011/female-voina-impostors-force-kiss-policewomen/

    Nice to see that sexual assault is a valid form of protest. I’m just gonna slowly back away from the internet now.

  56. EEB

    Y’know, I would absolutely love to read that article, as it sounds great (and I have had some serious cynacism regarding the Free Pussy Riot! coverage), but I’ve stopped clicking radfemhub links, as going to that site tends to either dangerously raise my blood pressure or cause me to violently upchuck. I like my radical feminism without the over-the-top, malicious transphobia, thanks.

    (Incidently, that’s one of the many, many reasons I love your blog. As a girl born in the middle of feminist backlash to a mother that adored Phyllis Schlafly, everything I learned about feminism came from dusty books I unearthed in my cow-town library. I strongly identified with radical feminism–and found a lot of the “third wave” books written by peers to be watered-down, silly faux feminist in comparison–until I started getting involved with feminists online, and found out that I couldn’t be a real radical feminist because I strongly support trans* people. You don’t know how happy I was when I found blogs like yours, and A Radical Transfeminist, and realized I could support the complete destruction of the patriarchy–and, y’know, hate porn and prostitution–without having to hate trans* people, as well.)

  57. Friend of Snakes

    FoS, also, are you suggesting that the post on Radfem Hub is somehow not attributable or not really the intellectual property of Radfem Hub?

    The former. We can only attribute it to something called, “HUB Newsfeed” posted on an online blog, Radfem Hub, whatever that is worth. But no, I have no reason to doubt that the post is not the intellectual property of someone posting there. It may be the intellectual product of multiple people. None of that, of course, has any particular bearing on the veracity of anything in the article.

    I find it annoying when a source of information isn’t tied to some real-life person(s). I wouldn’t mind if that entity were called Poster X or Posters XYZ. It just gives me an ongoing frame of reference as to whether or not I want to bother continuing to read a source’s output, as well as how much trust to put in these anonymous dispatches flowing by the bazillions over the internet. If Poster X proves to be not reliable, then I can skip on by next time, but maybe still check out Poster Y.

  58. Friend of Snakes

    Linda, I replied to your question, but said missive sits “awaiting moderation.” I blame the software.

  59. Twisty

    The Radfem Hub post is attributable, Friend of Snakes. A URL is all you need. That the by-line reads as anonymous is irrelevant, attribution-wise. Your own personal views on online anonymity are another matter entirely.

    I am always intrigued when personality is subsumed by a purported collective. My own gargantuan ego will not allow me to be so noble. But of course Twisty Faster is a fictional character, too, you know.

  60. Twisty

    Carpenter, one of the jailed Pussy Riots, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is married to a Voina dude. So the plot thickens.

    However, it seems that without any actual blaming boots on the ground in Moscow, we might never get the whole truth. When actual facts conflict or evade scrutiny, all you can really do is step back and offer feminist analysis of the popular narrative. The basic story arc is that 3 women have been imprisoned for 2 years for anti-Putin speech. Bad oppressive Russian verdict! Free Pussy Riot!

    But wait, we also know that they call themselves Pussy Riot, forever endearing them to Western news outlets whose ratings get a bump every time they say the word “pussy” on-air. Boo! Antifeminist band name! Boo! Western media promote dudecentric titillation whenever possible.

    And we also know that their activist stunts — they appear to sort of generally oppose the Russian megatheocorporatocracy — often take the form of sexual manipulation and funfeminist dudeporn. Boo! Antifeminist again!

    Etc.

  61. AlienNumber

    EEB, you don’t appreciate the work of Anonymous either then? The Hub members chose to go incognito (not with such great success because they MRAs are always trying to hack their site and personal sites and to harass them and to post their actual names and physical address online for everyone to see and for the extra dedicated misogynists to go and stalk them and threaten to kill them and whatnot).

    In the context of male supremacy, under which we live, to state the obvious, it’s quite risky to try to expose the shite, to state more obviousness.

    [Oh and also maybe the Hub members are just a tiny bit more group-identified than a certain genius lone-ranger who also goes by Twisty Faster? Just a thought.]

  62. josquin

    Twisty – thanks as always for thought-provoking texts. Plot thickens indeed. Things on the surface not being as they seem. Those damn Voina: now I hear that the graffiti artist Banksy has donated money for their “cause”? Why on earth? Another day, another supposedly enlightened artist lifting the curtain to show the dark underbelly of his misogyny. The patriarchy is wrapped around everything.

  63. mad

    I think I’m still banned for not thinking before I write, but here goes anyway.
    The prison bars are real, these dangerous extremist suspects were kept in a cage in the courtroom.
    The Voina dudes are facing prison sentences of up to 15 years for founding and membership of an extremist art organization. Their goal is to expose the barbarian ways of the regime.
    Feminism came to Russia as a part of communism, the word has long been associated with Stalinism, mass murder, and exploitation of women in the name of the state. I have no idea how exactly to parse those actions, I only know that the whole Voina/Pussy Riot thing has made one lifelong active former dissident radfem in Moscow happy and ‘at long last, again proud of our Russian people’.
    Russian women are terribly exploited in all possible ways, but they do not share American puritanism.
    Calling a colourful terrorist mask a ‘bondage mask’ may be a bit of an automatic puritan (though also anti-exploitation) reflex.

  64. josquin

    I’d like to amend my comment to read “another formerly interesting artist becomes less interesting when they lift the curtain to show the underbelly of their misogyny.”
    I shouldn’t go as far as to call Banksy “enlightened”, not knowing that much about him.

  65. Friend of Snakes

    The Radfem Hub post is attributable, Friend of Snakes.

    You wanna go all Chicago Manual of Style on my ass? Okay. That wasn’t my point.

    Speaking of attribution, I attribute a large measure of the cesspoolishness of one of those Hub blogs to the anonymity of its writer/compiler who surely wouldn’t have the ovaries/stones to spew out some of the stuff s/he does otherwise.

    Sure hope you’ll make time for some heart-warming (reptilian) nature crap soon.

  66. Friend of Snakes

    P.S., thank you for using my full name.

  67. Fictional Queen

    “I think the Voina stunts were supposedly demonstrating how the people get fucked over by the state.”
    The way women get fucked over by men. The state does to people what is only okay done by men to women. I don’t know why the only exception to getting fucked being terrible is when it happens to women. The world couldn’t be any clearer on their views on fucking. Yet, when I say I want to stay a virgin forever and that getting fucked is a horrible thing, something’s wrong with me! How come it’s agreed that it is bad to get fucked over, except if it’s women? It’s natural to oppose to being fucked, unless you’re the woman! I don’t accept this.

  68. Twisty

    Russian women are terribly exploited in all possible ways, but they do not share American puritanism. Calling a colourful terrorist mask a ‘bondage mask’ may be a bit of an automatic puritan (though also anti-exploitation) reflex.

    Puritanism is a set of religious beliefs characteristic of a Christian group that broke with the Church of England in the 16th century. I am certainly afflicted with many reflexes, but I assure you that “automatic” 16th century religious extremism is not among them.

    Even if by “puritan” you mean what most people mean — that is, prim, ultra-conservative, and anti-sex — you have still failed, by a wide margin, to accurately describe my views.

    Opposition to pornography is not the equivalent of puritanism in any sense of the word. Opposition to pornography = opposition to the sexploitation of women for the benefit of male interests.

  69. Linda

    [Oh and also maybe the Hub members are just a tiny bit more group-identified than a certain genius lone-ranger who also goes by Twisty Faster? Just a thought.]

    As stated in the banner, it is a collective blog.

  70. EEB

    @AlienNumber

    Uh, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I couldn’t care less that “Hub members chose to go incognito.” I chose not to go to that site because so many of their articles are filled with vile transphobia. It’s sad, because I’ve read some great posts over there–I was linked to the post on “50 Shades of Grey” and thought it was wonderful–but then I started clicking around to other posts, and read some shit that made me want to hurl. Or cry. Because of that, I don’t want to give them traffic or support them in any way.

    It should go without saying that of course people should not track down and post their real names and locations, and threats against them are flat wrong. I can strongly dislike and disagree with people without wanting to see them threatened or hurt. It’s horrible that they’re going through that, and they don’t deserve that.

    The do deserve to be called on their transphobia and hatred.

  71. quixote

    Russian women don’t share American puritanism, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a full cranium of patriarchy-induced anti-sex attitudes they share with men. Such as fuck=rape=sex.

  72. yttik

    Americans certainly have an odd combination of cultural repression and pornography, of puritanism and in your face sex 24/7. However, rape is rape, objectification is objectification.

    For centuries the patriarchy has tried to use the argument that certain women are prudes, repressed, while women from other countries, other ethnic groups, other neighborhoods, etc, are more “open minded.” “Open minded” of course means willing to tolerate their abuse.

  73. Friend of Snakes

    Hi-ever (as they say in east Texas), off topic, but not really because it’s all “same shit different day”, there is Oscar buz buzzing around Helen Hunt.

    eb, I misread this as referring to Linda Hunt. I’d def go see her in anything. Was doing a little catch-up reading on my preferred Hunt-named actor and discovered that she’s an official lesbian. I guess that’s in the Old News Department, but new to me.

  74. thebewilderness

    I do not know how accurate the information is that the men in the group have left Russia to avoid arrest and prosecution.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19385936

  75. Jezebella

    Blamers, I bring you bad tidings. Margaret Atwood’s Gilead is alive and well, and it is blooming in Arizona:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/new-law-arizona-states-pregnancy-begins-two-weeks-before-conception

    Yeah, you read that right. For purposes of their fancy new no-exceptions abortion law, any pregnancy is considered to have existed from the date of a woman’s last period, not from the date of conception. In other words, if you have periods, you are always-already pregnant. I, for one, will continue to stay the hell away from Arizona until I am convinced I will not be recruited into an army of Marthas and given to a senator to cook his meals and scrub his toilets (being too old to be a suitable Handmaid).

  76. gyp$y

    To whoever brought up the howler ‘automatic puritan reflex’, I suggest you head down to your local library and cross check Puritanism 101: Oppressive Cults for Dummies, with Radical Feminism and You: Your Complete A to Z Guide.
    You’ll find the two ideologies are completely incompatible and antithetical.

  77. gyp$y

    As for Pussy Riot, (regardless of how anti-feminist I find their self-debasement as proxies in public tableaux for wannabe De Sades, manarchists, and gonzo pornographers to be), putting them on trial and incarcerating them for ‘hooliganism’ is ridiculous and reminiscent of the ‘gnostical turpitude’ charges in ”Invitation to a Beheading”.

  78. EEB


    Russian women are terribly exploited in all possible ways, but they do not share American puritanism.

    Aw, really, that crap again? We are talking about how women are exploited, that is the entire fucking point of this post.

    And if I was living in Puritan America, I would have been burned at the stake long ago. I don’t know how anyone can look at American society, American media, or, hell, just the magazines at the checkout counter of every grocery store in America, and come out with the idea that we’re in a Puritan society. Porn isn’t liberation and protesting degrading images and acts done to women doesn’t make me a prude. It makes me a feminist.

  79. Kate

    Dear Aunty Twisty, you said and I applaud

    First you observe a thing. Then, because you weren’t born yesterday and therefore are perfectly aware that nothing exists that doesn’t promote the continued subjugation of the sex class, you examine the thing closely to determine the ways in which it supports an antifeminist culture of domination. The object of your scrutiny can literally be anything: a behavior, a practice, a movie, a law, a cultural norm, a piece of art, a bestseller, a YouTube video, a trial verdict, a scientific study, an unspoken rule, a turn of phrase, an internet meme, a photograph, a local custom, a medical procedure, a paradigm, an article of clothing, a blog post, your lunch, or a media frenzy over the imprisonment of a Russian all-girl punk band. If you conduct it unflinchingly, your examination absolutely will, I can guaran-fucking-tee without the slightest hesitation, bear flaming blaming-fruit. Patriarchal oppression replicates itself in every detail of human existence.

    Yeah I wondered why a “band” called “pussy riot” was getting all this coverage in the mainstream press (News Ltd) and isn’t the “Pussy” word so engaging.

    Oh my word are you the only Aunty on the planet who can dissect this crap for what it is. And whats with some crap S&M book called 50 shades of grey on sale in my supermarket? and crazy 30 ish women in Australia Nicky Gemell and Mia Freedman who are all over the mainstream media and all they write is totally self obsessed blah blah my babies what is it with sexualised T shirts blah people are mean to me when I park my car and why can’t my babies ride their bikes on the streets blah and why can’t I breastfeed and why can’t I bottle feed and why cant I have free childcare blah. OMG bring back critical thinking or even Germaine Greer if this is the level of public discourse on feminism.

    You rock Aunty IBTP with your superb writing and critical thinking and I would like to adopt you as my real Aunty if you would like a holiday on Rottnest Island, Western Australia this summer, already booked xx

  80. elephantsallaround

    My understanding is that the RadFem Hub’s article’s logic is something like this:

    1. Ask ‘what’s going on here’ (with all this media attention and broad public (aka patriarchal) support of a self-described feminist Russian punk band)? — a question Twisty sees as the blaming practice par excellence. Cool.

    2. Point out fairly obscure facts (facts which require some sleuthing) about the band’s other activist tendencies, which had not previously made it into mainstream media coverage of the case. (This is the premise on which I most expect to be corrected.)

    3. Claim (but do not prove) that the women’s participation in Voina is “indirectly” responsible for all the media coverage. Conclude that public support (including male support) of Pussy Riot is explained by the public’s misogynistic taste for ooey-gooey dead-chicken-involving torture porn – Voina practices that your average twitter-reader tv-news-watcher public knows nothing about.

    What am I missing here? Sure, knowing about Voina changes my view of the Pussy Riot clan, though it doesn’t in anyway change my disgust and disappointment about their imprisonment. The argument can be made – and debated – that they are not worthy of the feminist title because of their participation in this group. Fine. But it seems to me a stretch to argue that the public is rallying around this ‘feminist’ cause BECAUSE of their participation in this group. The twelve year olds in the rainbow knit skimasks are not wearing the masks because they love the dead-chicken or anal antics/abuse. The world does not care about this band BECAUSE they participate in Voina. The very fact that this other part of their story is expressed by a marginalized blog in the style of an expose indicates that this information is not part of the narrative motivating the public response to the trial & verdict. Thus, the public response to what’s happened is not misogynistic for this reason, although it may be for other reasons, like the other porn themes and the chance to say ‘pussy’ a million times, as others have pointed out already.

  81. Carpenter

    What a tangled web anarchist art collectives weave. Its seems Tolokonnikova and her husband were expelled from the original Voina so they started their own group also called Voina. The People’s Liberation Front of Judea and all that Hence the confusion about which group did what- though both were engaged in anti-feminist actions. So many bad lessons to learn here about the failings of the left. I was also surprised to learn that Tolokonnikova is only 22, she was 18 when she did the bear stunt. One doesn’t usually make the most sophisticated analyses about social action in ones late teens so I am still holding out hope for future her prospects.

  82. ew_nc

    elephantsallaround – That was some pretty awesome mansplaining! You missed the entire point as well.
    Quite the feat!
    I’m sure Twisty is thrilled that you approve of her blaming. Because of course that’s the point of HER blog, to make sure everyone approves of her. /sarcasm

  83. Friend of Snakes

    And if I was living in Puritan America, I would have been burned at the stake long ago.

    EEB, I believe those righteous Puritans executed our homegrown witches by hanging (and occasionally maybe drowning and crushing?) not by burning. I stand ready to be corrected on this, however. Otherwise, point taken.

  84. Twisty

    Blamers, I bring you bad tidings. Margaret Atwood’s Gilead is alive and well, and it is blooming in Arizona

    What tha!

  85. gyp$y

    @ Twisty and Jezebella
    Even though this law is heinous, as is placing any limitation on when a woman can get an abortion, from what I was taught in a pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics course, calculating the pregnancy as beginning two weeks prior to actual conception is already standard procedure among medical professionals to account for teratogenic drugs prescribed to pregnant women. As per usual in a patriarchy, the health of the fetus is placed above the health of the woman, so this mode of calculating the day of conception is implemented to ensure medication isn’t prescribed to a mother during a developmental stage when it may harm her fetus (ie prior to and while the neural tube is closing etc).

  86. Lidon

    Sure hope you’ll make time for some heart-warming (reptilian) nature crap soon.

    After hearing all about how Voina gets their rocks off, oh I mean “makes political statements”, so could I.

  87. Boner Killer

    Shared this x 1000

  88. Francesca

    A feminist comedian’s take on the whole ordeal. Watch, share, like, beat away sexist internet trolls!

    PUSSIES SHALL RIOT
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjrCBiRG1SQ

  89. elephantsallaround

    @ew_nc, please do explain the point of the article to me; that is what i was looking for. honestly. i was presenting my understanding of the article to see if i had it right, to see what others thought, and also because i don’t think radical feminism should be let off the hook of rational argumentation. of course what is and is not rational can be defined discourse-internally, and doesn’t have to answer to any particular system – it just needs to be coherent with itself and with (i’d venture) common sense reasoning. i just didn’t see any logic behind the point i thought it was making, which is that the public support for the imprisoned band members could be traced to their activity in Voina. (i could indeed be missing the point – again, please enlighten me!) it doesn’t help any cause or group to get away with leaps of logic.

    i am a huge fan of this site, and my impression is that it can handle real critical discussion. that was my first time posting, though i’m a longtime reader. i am interested in your dismissal of my post as ‘man-splaining’. i am not a man, though i work in a male-dominated academic field, and i certainly have never been accused of anything like that before. was it the numbers?

  90. Helen

    I’m the cause of the trouble upthread i.e. the commenter at Hoyden About Town. I *explicitly* linked to the thread here because, as I stated, the ideas came from a second source but I refused to link to a transphobic blog. The link to this thread provides anyone who wants to the wherewithal to find the source of the info. I feel that’s quite above board and as clear in attribution as necessary. Linda has an ongoing vendetta with Hoyden about Town and her comments need to be filtered through that knowledge.

  91. Twisty

    And Helen clears up the whole thing nicely. Thanks!

  92. qvaken

    Twisty, I know that you ignored Kate’s offer, but I just want to vouch for the fact that Rottnest Island is beautiful and serene and has a bottleshop, so if you ever take her up on her offer then that’s the treat that you’re in for. Just don’t go around the time of of year that kids finish high school or university exams.

  93. TwissB

    Highly recommended: Ariel Levy’s hilarious take-down of ditzy Naomi Wolf’s latest travesty “Vagina: A New Biography” (with serious collateral damage to “50 Shades of Gray”) in the Sept. 10 issue of The New Yorker.

    Publication of these books must have been acts of misogynist malice on the part of the publishers.

  94. birthingwaylaid

    I am just not going to watch those videos; even the description is enough to make me wish for unreading powers.

    This is shockingly, chillingly hateful shit. No wonder the mainstream media loves it so much.

  95. KittyWrangler

    @TwissB
    Vom-o-rama! I couldn’t have come up with a more irritating book title if I was getting paid! This isn’t misogynist malice, it’s misogynist genius.

  96. Mememe

    The other thing about the radfem hub piece is that the original source is the douche from The Exiled, who claimed to have seen a tape of Voina’s exploits when he was a “journalist” in Moscow. The drooling tone of his expose of these facts would be enough to misdirect anyone, but misdirection is what it is, I think. The west’s hypocrisy over others struggles against political oppression, whether it is is conducted by feminists or not, is legendary, and everyone knows that Russia sends the West way up the scale of hypocrisy, still, something about messing about with gas supply and all the usual shit. The ludicrous dismissal of these women as victims within their own political group, rather than as victimised by Putin and the state, is just not borne out by the eloquent, intelligent statements the women gave. Like that of Samutsevich, in translationhere. It diminishes them, and we shouldn’t do that.

    Or, what Liz said, way up near the start.

  97. Rididill

    @Mememe

    Yeah. Cos ludicrous dismissal and saying someone is a victim are totally the same thing.

    According to patriarchy that is.

  98. Linda

    “The ludicrous dismissal of these women as victims of their own political group *rather* than as victimized by Putin and the state…”

    You must not have read it. It’s not saying its one over the other, it’s saying it’s BOTH. The misogyny of liberal, leftist and so-called progressive men, is not a new idea within radical feminist discourse.

  1. You are a member of the sex class and the only way out is feminist revolt, by Jonah Lehrer » I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] to a full-on via; she only gets, according to Popova’s code, a hat-tip. As should ↬Linda, the commenter who pointed out the aforementioned [...]

  2. “Remember, if the liberal peen is keen, the result can only demean” « Anti-Porn Feminists

    [...] IBTP has written about Pussy Riot as well recently. I’m not going to quote from the main piece, but from her comment at 2.43pm, August 24 (can’t seem to link directly): Well, they’re sex slaves in the sense that they’re affiliated with some pretty godawful pornwrecked dudes. I hope you didn’t, because it will have scarred you for life, but did you happen to see the photograph of rioter Nadezhda Tolokonnikova getting reamed in the ass by her charming Voina husband, while nine months pregnant, in a public museum? I don’t know if the Voina stunt with the dead chicken and the “vacuous cunt” involved a member of Pussy Riot, but that image is one of the most disturbing, misogynist things I have ever seen. I would give a week’s worth of tacos to unsee that shit. [...]

  3. Pussy Riot: an exercise in jaundiced scrutiny for the patriarchy blamer » I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] Here’s the 2012 post I wrote about the hidden dudely porntastic agenda behind Pussy Riot, and here’s the source material for that post. [...]

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