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Nadya Tolokonnikova

Nadya Tolokonnikova is a conceptual artist and political activist from Russia and the founder of the art collective Pussy Riot. In 2012 she was sentenced to two years' imprisonment following[…]

Nadya Tolokonnikova: I think feminism that doesn't benefit man is not my feminism. I mean it doesn't really exist because feminism is something about equality, right? Feminism means that you can choose what kind of gender so you see gender as a palette and you can draw with this pallet freely. And ideally you would have as much power over creating yourself as a piece of art as you can. So I see that's the meaning of evolving as a human being or as humanity, right? So we were given will and we were given a mind for some reason I guess to define ourselves to think about our social presence and to think to redefine our existence by ourselves and within our community and within our society. So feminism is a great tool that helps us to understand actually that throughout history for some reason that one part of humanity was deprived from having basic human rights. For some weird reason that they don't have a dick, right? That they don't have a dick, if you don't have a dick then you have to I don't know be a slave. That's strange, right? And so feminism is about equality and how feminism can be against man I don't know.

It is really interesting for me as a Russian activist that is the question here is do women have the right to have abortions or not. In Russia it's completely out of the question. Like we just do have this right and like snow is white. Women have the right to have abortions. That's the end of the story. And then just to think, why is it like that in Russia? Because unfortunately for a lot of American people it's kind of thought that Russia is not as developed as America which is not true at all. We had amazing experience of Soviet experiment and it brought us a lot of terrible things including extinction of philosophy and art and me as a philosophy student I really suffered from that. But at the same time it brought a lot of brilliant things. A strong feminist socialist movement and at the beginning of the twenties Russian women once and for all I think realized that they do have the right to control their bodies. Then so they were given the right to have abortion in the twenties. Then they lost this right when Stalin came to power but then they got it back in 1953. And since then they always had this right.


I don't like to answer on nasty things with nasty words, even when I was attacked in McDonald's in Moscow with this green liquid medicine in my eyes and some metal objects thrown in my and Masha's, my colleague, heads. Like what I did in that instance I just came to those people and hugged them and then asked quietly why did you do that. And then I saw something in their eyes like they were, they started to think that actually we are human beings. Because in all this, this beginning of when you dehumanize other. So I don't want to dehumanize people who hate feminism.