Pussy Riot celebrate the vagina in lyrical riposte to Trump. By Luke Harding. The Guardian, October 25, 2016.
Russian punk band Pussy Riot has come a long way since it first entered the global imagination four years ago. In February 2012, five of its members performed a rebellious stunt at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior that eventually landed two of them in prison and turned the group into the unlikely poster child for dissent in President Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Now, its most recognizable members are global celebrities. Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina appeared on an episode of Netflix’s “House of Cards” last year. Alyokhina is touring the world with a theater company. And Tolokonnikova just put out a music video that’s being framed as an intervention into the U.S. presidential election campaign.
“Straight Outta Vagina,” which you can watch above, was shot earlier this year in Los Angeles. It stars Tolokonnikova in white clerical robes and trademark pastel ski mask singing in English about the power of the vagina.
The lyrics can get confusing — “Vagina is gonna win the race,” Tolokonnikova sings. “Vagina gonna play in space.” — including the chorus: “Don’t play stupid, don’t play dumb, vagina’s where you’re really from.” There's also a scene in which a young girl in a Pussy Riot mask lip-syncs a rap verse in a men’s bathroom.
In an interview with the Guardian, Tolokonnikova explained that she wanted to “write a song that celebrates” the female anatomy. She also considered it a riposte to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose comments about women — notably a remark that he “grabs them by the p----” — have shadowed the election campaign.
“This song could be considered an answer to Trump,” she told the Guardian. “But I believe the idea of powerful female sexuality is much bigger than any populist megalomaniac man … Vagina is bigger than Trump.”
She went on to denounce Trump’s reportedly sympathetic relationship with Putin and his embrace of an avowedly tough, perhaps chauvinistic, political style. “Politicians are praising ‘strong leadership,’” she said. “Trump openly supports the authoritarian methods of Vladimir Putin. And it’s scary. It’s not the world in which I want to live.”