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(en) Russia, Moscow, Feminist festival "day of defender of the defender" 6th-8th of March 2004

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 20 Mar 2004 10:02:09 +0100 (CET)

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Two popular Russian celebrations - 23rd of February and 8th of March already
long time ago lost their original meaning, and they have become celebrations
of strong man and weak woman. "Strong" and "weak" are by far not the only
epithets stuck with concepts of "male" and "female". Gender stereotypes are
reproduced first of all in language and culture. Question who should defend
whom and why, and who are feminists, why feminism in Russia, and also many
other topics were discussed in materials and discussions of the festival.
6th of February began with presentation of press and showing of a film on actions
of Polish Emancypunx group, followed by a discussion on image of the feminists
and forms of struggle against patriarchy.

First day of the festival finished with showing of film "Antonia",
which tells about independent life of 4 generations of women in Dutch
countryside. 7th of February a film "Legend of Rita" was shown. Next
discussion was on theme of actuality of traditional "Western"
feminist arguments in Russia, taking into account some peculiarities
of gender roles in Russia. In evening a concert was organised with
mostly female groups, including "Strangle inside' and "Nola" from
Moscow and "MASS KOTKI" from Warsaw. During concert 3 stalls of
distros of musical and literature were selling their products. In 8th
of March a non-legalised demonstration-happening under theme "Shut up
woman - your day is 8th of March" took place in the streets of Moscow.
Slap to the face of the social taste This year 8th of March in Moscow
was sunny and warm, which is unusual. Melted by sun and idleness,
examples of homo sapience of both sexes were wandering in the
streets of the city in a festive mood. But soon malicious feminists
showed up and spoiled everything.

We made simultaneously a demonstration and political carnival. For
people passing by it was not that easy to figure out what did we
really wanted. One could believe, that part of the march was really
for patriarchy and for pushing women back to kitchen, since such
ideas are much more often heard in our society than feminist ones.
Others thought that we were just out of our minds - why to spoil
people's mood by playing the buffoon, making noise and shouting
during a general holiday! But most clever ones figured out what
was our point - much of respect to them, and welcome to our ranks!

About half of our colon was representing patriarchal
way of life. Our biggest and best banner stating
"Shut up woman! your day is 8th of March!", was
carried by three young women with stuck up mouths. They
were followed by a young not old pair, who however
were already literally chained by ties of marriage.
Their mouth was stuck up as well. A girl in a
dressing gown and kerchief reminded everyone, that
her place is in the kitchen. Another person with
pan and apron carried with her full schedule of her
life - breakfast, cleaning, laundry, store, lunch. Next
had a honest placate - "long hair, short mind" and
waved with the journal Cosmopolitan. Colon had also
pregnant and feeding mothers, fulfilling their
patriotic mission, with placates stating "Our
children are good cannon fodder for our motherland!".
There was a women of indefinable age with string-bag,
backpack, children and placate "I am a horse, and a
bull, I am a molly and a lad". There was a girl in a
scarf, and placate "Chicken is not a bird, woman
is not a human", together with a pretty lady with
placate "My profession is a secretute".

Our demonstration began in statue of Krupskaya,
who unfortunately was not exactly a feminist.
We were marching, making noise with pans, whistlers
and slogans. When we arrived to Myasnitskoy street,
we turned towards Lyubyanka square, and through
Nikolskoy street to Red Square.

In Red Square we met first cops, but we were not
in a mood to have a talk with them, so we
went on to Manezhnaya square. Cops decided that
it was not their section of the city anymore, and

shook their hands happily. We went around on roof of
underground shopping centre of Ohotny Ryad, saw some
cops again but still decided not to chat with them. We
finished action, altogether it went on 50 minutes,
no permissions asked or received.

In Manezhnaya square, in traditional place of
political demonstrations which during last
15 years has been turned to popsy commercial-
entertainment area, happened a general
liberation from bonds of the patriarchy. All
its symbols and attributes were thrown away

and trampled on. Down with the patriarchy!
Equality, freedom and anarcho-feminism! After
few more slogans scanned we moved on to
celebrate day of solidarity of women in
struggle for their rights.

Comrade Sanya

Photographs available in http://russia.indymedia.org

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