Pussy Riot Outrage: Another Example of Slacktivism?

The type of global attention drawn to the Pussy Riot trial and verdict bears uncomfortable similarities to that engendered by the Kony 2012 video.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

Amidst all the noise surrounding the treatment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, writer Joshua Foust sees familiar and disturbing behavior: The tendency amongst some in the West to reduce complicated and weighty global issues down to easy slogan- and meme-generating causes célèbre. He draws a comparison with the Kony 2012 campaign, which "took a serious problem -- warlords escaping justice in Central Africa -- and turned it into an exercise in commercialism, militarism, and Western meddling...Pussy Riot's Western fans are turning [the issue of eroding civil and political freedom in Russia] into a celebration of feminist punk music and art...[which] are great, but they are not the solutions to this particular problem."

What's the Big Idea?

Foust points out that Pussy Riot is famous in Russia for being political activists -- they're aren't just "peasants grabbed off the road and put on trial for being women" -- and that the spotlight is ignoring their fellow activists who aren't as famous and who face much harsher treatment from the government. It's not that the band's plight isn't important, he says; it's that the West's focus on them avoids delving into a broader analysis of what may be a return to a more authoritarian and repressive Russia.

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