Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pussy Riot and the politics of fear.

Elizabeth Groeneveld (2009) argues that the feminist magazine BUST takes a neo liberal approach to feminism in a 2006 article titled "Be a feminist or just dress like one." Six important feminists served as the inspiration for a fashion spread that, although playfully ironic, clearly stripped the historical and political meaning of these figures. Groeneveld proposes that this is an example of a neo liberal approach to feminism- Lifestyle feminism. Women can choose what aspects of feminism they want to adopt and which ideas they'd like to discard. While this falls under the movement of 'third wave feminism' it is ultimately ineffective because it doesn't encourage women to examine the role of social institutions and larger organisations in regards to inequality.
"While lifestyle feminism arguably provides a version of feminism that is friendly and accessible, it does not offer an analysis of collective injustice and cannot serve as a basis for activism beyond individual acts of consumption." (Groeneveld 2009)
I read a letter from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova printed in 'The Guardian' newspaper today and I was deeply moved by her courage and conviction. She was arrested in February 2012 with members of the feminist group "Pussy Riot'for performing a song with Lyrics asking the Virgin Mary to get rid of Putin. Her group claims they are sick of the patriarchal rule in Russia making life hard for women. They ask for true democracy and better opportunities for women. I hope that Pussy Riot eventually achieve these aims. There is still a need for feminist actions that challenge institutions and demand change. These aren't always comfortable questions but they must be encouraged. These women are true heroes,standing up to injustice and oppression. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/23/pussy-riot-hunger-strike-nadezhda-tolokonnikova ‘Be a feminist or just dress like one’: BUST, fashion and feminism as lifestyle. Elizabeth Groeneveld, Journal of Gender Studies Vol. 18, No. 2, June 2009, 179–190