We’re Taking Our Clothes Off For You

A long time ago, I was watching some BBC show. It had that grainy shot-on-video feel, like Monty Python or Doctor in the House, but I don’t recall the name. At some point, some young people were protesting something, maybe even getting arrested and TV cameras arrived, so a fetching young woman immediately took off her shirt. She wore nothing underneath. The reporter was upset and complained to her that now he couldn’t use the footage. (This really was a long time ago, and someone had let that slip through without blurring out her breasts.) Her motives weren’t clear to me. Was she trying to attract more attention, or shame them from filming, or get arrested? I paid a lot more attention, but wondered what her nudity had to do with political protest?

Here in the states we’ve recently seen Go Topless Day and another World Naked Bike Ride. Go Topless day supports a woman’s constitutional right to go topless just like men — if they want — which by and large they don’t. World Naked Bike Ride, “demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against oil dependency.” By getting really saddle sore.

But they are all amateurs compared to Pussy Riot.

I first heard about the Russian protest band while they were on trial for performing a protest song in a church. I was sympathetic. No one likes Putin, the Russian church seems to be reactionary, and the proposed punishment seemed awfully severe for what they did. Later I read though, on NSFWCorp (usually a pay site) , that the Russian populace in general has little sympathy for Pussy Riot:

… this is the part of the Pussy Riot story completely overlooked or dismissed by the Western media, which loves the Pussy Riot story for a host of reasons: It makes us look good and Putin look bad, which hasn’t been easy since Dubya fucked things up; it involves three true-to-life Lara Croft brave-babes fighting KGB power; and, of course, it lets prudish middlebrows say “Pussy” and still sound morally respectable….

Part of the hostility to Pussy Riot is that they’ve become a cause-célèbre in the West. … So when they hear us finally paying attention again to Russia because a punk band with an English name using Latin script falls under the Kremlin’s gun, they don’t necessarily see “injustice” the way we do from our far-away vantage point — they see another dastardly plot by the West to humiliate Mother Russia and bring her to her knees. …

In March 2008, just when Putin was handing the presidency to his hand-picked monkey Dmitri Medvedev, the Voina collective, including Pussy Riot’s Tolokonnikova, pulled off a political “art” stunt that was so insane and over-the-top, I decided to turn it into a big photo essay in The eXile. The “artists” gathered in a Moscow museum, brought a few photographers with them, stripped completely naked, and started having a real no-bullshit XXX orgy underneath a banner that read: “Fuck For The Successor Medvedev”.

Among those who stripped off all their clothes and got “fucked” doggy-style for Medvedev: a very pregnant, younger Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot, who’s now sitting in prison.

The fellow in the top hat, Plucer, posted the pictures, few of which are safe for work or children, on his LiveJournal page. The text is all in Russian, but according to Google translate, he described them all as a bit crazy. There didn’t seem to be much support in the comments section, either.

I’m trying to imagine what would have happened had a group of anarchists posted pictures like these in support of Occupy Wall Street. Opponents would have been outraged, of course, just as they were about everything, but I suspect that as in Russia, the average person who might have sympathy for the 99% would not have appreciated that sort of statement.

BTW, the title comes from an old Saturday Night Live musical sketch in which cast members, led by Mary Gross, danced in their underwear to poke fun at NBC’s latest marketing efforts.


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