We’ve been covering the saga of Russian protest punk group Pussy Riot for over a year now. The feminist collective performed guerrilla musical protests around Russia against Vladimir Putin. One in particular, in a church, ended with members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina sentenced to two years imprisonment for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”. The human rights implications of this sentence attracted much worldwide attention, with Amnesty International and celebrities like Sting, Yoko Ono and Madonna speaking out for the women. But something else happened. The “Free Pussy Riot” movement, with its iconic knitted balaclavas and provocative language, became a popular meme. The cause célèbre was even appropriated by the fashion industry.
Via Cindy Sullivan