Pussy Riot as Feminism, Protest, Punk

Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir

In the seminal text The Second Sex, Simone De Beauvoir puts forward the three themes that justified the need for feminism at her time: immanence, women conflated with their reproductive organs, and the structural discrimination against women by virtue of how girls are raised as opposed to boys. This discrimination, De Beauvoir argued, ensured that girls were brought up to believe that male domination is conditioned, ‘his power learned’, where women is conditioned to deny her true self in order to achieve happiness in society.

The Russian punk collective Pussy Riot translate into action these themes with their three themes: feminism, protest, punk.


Pussy Riot wear their balaclavas and masks to draw attention away from their gender, their feminine form, and force their audiences to view them as an idea rather than women. The promiment philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Zizek elaborated on this:

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“Their message is: ideas matter. They are conceptual artists in the noblest sense of the word: artists who embody an Idea. This is why they wear balaclavas: masks of deindividualization, of liberating anonymity. The message of their balaclavas is that it doesn’t matter which of them are arrested — they’re not individuals, they’re an Idea. And this is why they are such a threat: it is easy to imprison individuals, but try to imprison an Idea!”


The collective deconstructs their identities and the outward forms of their bodies to avoid the traps of gender. The collective (before the recent and public spat between Nadya and Masha, and the rest of the collective) espoused strict anonymity and engaged with the public using only pseudonyms, like Squirrel, Blondie, Sparrow, and Seraphim. The collective also are ferocious opponents of the cult of celebrity and have committed to depersonalizing its members in order to not draw attention to any one personality in the collective.

Their faceless indictment of their Russian society has been met with very visible attacks on them. The following is a record of known attacks on them:

the danger posed by pussyriot


anti-structure, fluid membership:
Participants Pussy Riot group did not disclose their real names and to communicate with the media used an alias that is, in his own words, often changed between them. The press mentioned activist group Balaklava, Manko, Tyurya, Garaja (Garadzha Matveyeva), Blondie, Chowder, Hat, Schumacher, Seraphim, reins, Cat, Washer, Sparrow (Sparrow) and Belka (Squirrel). Pussy Riot have always been in hiding his face knitted masks and repeatedly stressed that the team member “anonymous and interchangeable.”

source: http://lenta.ru/lib/14216713/

their full socio-political agenda:

Participants art project formulate its socio-political agenda as follows: feminism, the struggle with law enforcement, the protection of LGBT -soobschestva, antiputinizm , radical decentralization of power in Russia, the salvation of the Khimki forest and transfer of the capital of Russia in eastern Siberia.
source: russian wikipedia page

Show detailed map of all known Pussy Riot performances using StoryMapJS


Embed playlist of pussyriot songs

Include excerpts from self-commentary on videos: http://a-pesni.org/rok/pussyriot/osvobodi.php

Mention that collective were inspired by Kathleen Hanna, embed excerpts from The Punk Singer documentary

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