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Found Feminism: Rubber Face Putin

2012 October 22

A wise man1 once said that you ignore the writing on the walls at your peril. I hope the same is true of stickers.

In a world where it’s increasingly hard to get your message across, and available methods of communication are becoming more and more sophisticated, it’s refreshing to see a return to the simple things in life.

Like slapping a sticker somewhere nice and prominent that screams FREE PUSSY RIOT in fat felt tip pen.

I found this beauty a couple of months ago whilst walking across the Golden Jubilee pedestrian bridge. Sitting loud and proud, obviously homemade, with bright colours and a take-no-prisoners message.

Brightly coloured hand made sticker with chunky text in yellow and blue reading Free Pussy Riot, scibbled at the top is Fuck Rubber Face Putin. The sticker is against a stone background and is signed with the initials SMC

Hear hear!

So, why is this a Found Feminism?

Well, obviously there’s the show of support for Pussy Riot and the spreading of their message. Whoever slapped this on the wall was inspired to make and display the sticker themselves. I hope there are hundreds of them stuck around London. I only found the one. I hope other people find more. I hope they make their own.

I’m also going to add points for the artwork, done in a way that echoes feminist punk stylings. It’s that hand-drawn aesthetic of “we did this in our bedroom” personal creation. It mirrors the hand-knitted balaclavas of the band members, and it’s the heart and soul of grassroots movements.

Plus, it’s funny.

I’m not saying that feminism should be side-splitting all the time, although I do dislike that stereotype about feminists as po-faced, dungarees-wearing, yoghurt-plaiting monsters2 who hate all fun and all jokes. But being able to make someone smile when you get your point across can be valuable – and who wouldn’t grin at this sticker, with its cheerful two fingers up to one of the most terrifying and powerful men in the world? Doesn’t matter how strong you think you are, Mr Putin – the writing on the wall in London thinks you’re a dick.

Finally, there’s the political message here. The sticker, and Pussy Riot, are part of a rekindling of the political power of feminism, reminding us all that there’s more we can do (much, much more) than form elegant critiques of the use of the female nude in art for the Sunday edition of the national newspapers.

There are problems out in the world that an active, aware and politicised feminist movement can work to solve. Should work to solve. And the fact that someone with a few highlighter pens and a handful of stickers is getting out there and having a go, in their own way, at doing it should put a rocket under those of us who have more reach and power to do what we can.

So yeah, fuck rubber face Putin.

  • Check out the website Free Pussy Riot for news and how you can get involved.
  • Our Rhian wrote on Pussy Riot when they first appeared in the UK national press here, and again after the trial here.
  1. Terry Pratchett, THUD (particularly in the form of Granny Weatherwax, he’s the source of a lot of useful moral philosophy). []
  2. Actually, I really like dungarees, and would quite happily wear them, especially for their iconic status in (mis)representing feminism. But that’s because I’m a real person and not a stereotype! I cannot plait yoghurt, however. []
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