Last year, if your current events attention span even goes back that far, a Russian feminist punk group called Pussy Riot was arrested for performing a “punk prayer” calling for the removal of Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral. As two of the members were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, the band’s plight became an international rallying cry—Madonna, Yoko Ono and others called for their liberation, while Peaches wrote a song and created an all-star music video demanding their release, with other folks donning the group’s trademark balaclavas.
Now, a year after Pussy Riot’s concert in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Berlin-based lingerie label blush takes their aesthetic, and the track from Peaches, and turns it into an ad campaign. Models strut through Moscow’s streets in a “sexy protest march,” donning intimate apparel and balaclavas. Because if Che Guevara has taught us anything, it’s that the Revolution makes for a brilliant commercial strategy. And while, yes, it is totally possible to fight the patriarchy and other repressive forces in bikinis and balaclavas and if that’s how you want to go about it, by all means, but it’s hard to overlook the ickiness of co-opting a revolutionary message to sell stuff. What would the real Pussy Riot say to all this? Probably nothing favorable. Especially because two of them are in jail, while you are profiting off their brand. Good job, everyone.