After my tutorial and speaking to Jules, we have come to a conclusion that I need to do more research in relation to having more cultural references in my work in order to build a solid zine with a deeper understanding of my theme of female empowerment and body image. I need to figure out how I can use references such as riot girls or pussy riot and connect it to my theme of body image, positivity and self care- whilst creating suitable imagery and illustrations to go with this topic. Although I do not intend on making this zine with a strong political agenda, I believe that it is important to research the modern stems of the riot grrrl movement such as the start of the pussy riot movement so that I fully understand their attitudes and beliefs which I can hopefully project onto my final zine so that it has underlying themes the audience can detect. I think this will definitely be challenging as I need to figure out how to include this theme of feminist protest into my work. I think it would be interesting to look into Pussy Riot artwork and styling, whilst incorporating some text such as quotes or poetry to go alongside it- I think this will at least give it some context.
WHO ARE THE PUSSY RIOT?
Pussy Riot is formed by a musical girl group in Russia who are known to perform guerrilla performances in public. With the help of social media (particularly youtube) the Pussy Riot group share their music videos online demonstrating their protests on views concerning sexism, Trumps election, LGBT rights, and Putins dictatorship that have lead them to voice their anger through lyrics and performance. Starting as a small feminist protest band, they started gaining recognition world wide. The most notable performance by Pussy Riot was their controversial stunt in a Moscow church that attacked the Orthodox church and its support for Putin (1) in their Punk Prayer video, wearing their symbolic coloured balaclava masks.
“In February 2012, Alyokhina and three other young women in bright tights and balaclavas crashed the cathedral altar to stage a 40-second performance, “Virgin Mary, Drive out Putin!” “None of us thought there would be charges or a sentence when we did it,” she says — but a week later they were on the run. After a bizarre trial that evoked Soviet-era proceedings against dissident artists, they were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. “We joked that, if they caught us, we would be the new dissidents,” says Alyokhina, “which was just what happened.(2)”
The Pussy Riot adopt a punk style attitude, by standing out, and standing up for issues in Russia where there is far less of freedom of speech, and where feminists and other minorities may be seen as a taboo, or is not widely spoken about, especially in Russian media. With the power of social media and their music videos, they bring out messages that focus on the mistreatment of people- a recent video ‘Make America Great Again’ criticised Trump and his policies by using satirical and grotesque imagery.
What has inspired me about researching into Pussy Riots is their punk attitudes in bringing forward strong statement and messages. I will try to adopt some of this confident, strong imagery into my work which can be seen as a reference to pick out.
(imagery by Nische Ink of Nadya Tolokonnikova)