Say it Loud, Say it Proud: Pussy Pussy Pussy

Last February, a group of artists who call themselves Pussy Riot staged a performance inside the male-only section of a Catholic church in Russia. The next month, Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were arrested and held in prison to await trial.

On August 17, they were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years each in a prison camp. What follows is my reaction upon hearing of their conviction.

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When I was a girl, my soul mate and I declared that someday we would protest at the Vatican.

This wasn’t anything to do with molestation or women’s rights; this was back in the late ’70s. Our grievance was pretty basic. See, I had attended Mass with my neighbor friends* and wasn’t allowed to take communion. I knew what they (the Catholics) thought that meant, and it outraged me. At my Protestant church everyone “was saved” (it would be 20 years before I thought to ask, “from what?”). Everyone “was forgiven”, everyone was served.

It was different in that Catholic church, though. Even as a child, the pretense of it all amazed me — my neighbors didn’t really think I was doomed to hell, did they? I felt like standing up and yelling, “I don’t want your wine dipped styrofoam discs anyway, you bunch of power hungry crazies.”

Later when I told my soul mate about this, that’s when we decided to take to the sidewalks of Rome and give the Pope a piece of our minds.

But we never did.

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I wish I had paid attention and learned more about Pussy Riot months ago.

But I didn’t. I’m not that disciplined. Not that well read. Definitely not that cool.

Up until this morning, I don’t even think I’ve said the word “pussy,” out loud. Ever.

I wish I had studied more in school. And raised a ruckus. And made a difference. And spoke out.

But I didn’t.

Also, when I’m at a show and the music really excites me, I love raising my fist and punching the air. But when I do, I can’t stop longing for a magical real-time airbrush to make my flabby triceps invisible to everyone around me.

Even poor body image haunts my most wild moments.

I want to feel bold. I want to wear more color. I want to break rules. I want to be a badass.

But I’m not.

I want to be less mask-averse.

But I am highly mask-averse.

Last fall, I dipped my toes into the Occupy Movement. Unbeknownst to me until it was too late, the Ron Paulians commandeered the biggest protest I attended. I ran, literally ran, to avoid being associated with them. Ducked into The Biltmore for martinis — because I’m addicted to comfort. And maybe alcohol.

But definitely comfort.

And now I’m slogging off to my day gig with make up on, and minimally styled hair, thinking — with envy — about the quick primp time of most men. I’m reconsidering the idea of masks. Something is clicking.

Where I’m going, the most excitement involves a mail box key and a letter opener. I will not be changing the world. I will not be performing premeditated hooliganism. I will not be pushing the light further into darkness.

But I will think of Pussy Riot: of Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

And I will think of Ai Wei Wei, and Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning, and Nelson Mandela, and all the other people whose names I do not know yet.

And I’ll be grateful.

And I’ll ask myself, what’s next? What can I do to help?

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*Those neighbors are like cousins to me. We still chat affectionately on FB. My feelings towards the Catholic Church have nothing to do with how warmly I feel towards those ladies.

5 thoughts on “Say it Loud, Say it Proud: Pussy Pussy Pussy

    1. Dear Mindy — Yay! I love being a part of laughter. I think I can now say the word when it’s not being used to describe genitals. And I don’t like to use it to connote weakness or cowardice because of it’s association with the feminine. Ugh, kind of complicated.

    1. Dear Vicki, your book is stunning – visually inspiring. I’m so grateful I stumbled upon it and your work. Thank you for stopping by here and commenting. Looking forward to continued creative adventures with new friends around the world like you!

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