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This chapter analyses the presence of Russian feminists and female LGBTIQ+ activists within US-American mainstream media. In the course of a multimedia discourse analysis…
This chapter analyses the presence of Russian feminists and female LGBTIQ+ activists within US-American mainstream media. In the course of a multimedia discourse analysis, it briefly raises questions of who becomes featured and how, to argue that current debates marginalise Russian queer female, trans*gender and intersex voices, compared to those of male queers. One exception to this trend is the case of the journalist and activist Masha Gessen. Together with Nadya Tolokonnikova of the protest group Pussy Riot, Gessen seems to represent Russian queers and feminists within US media. Although marginal, compared to the presence of US feminisms, especially popular culture figures such as Beyoncé Knowles-Carter or Lady Gaga, the two women become frequently featured within US news media and beyond. Frequently, those articles, interviews and discussions of their work open up a debate, or rather comparisons, between US values and Russian values, questions of modernity, progress and civilisation. Equally often, the female Russian dissidents are pictured as ‘Putin’s victims’ – the female versions of David fighting against Goliath – by focussing especially on their physical vulnerability and their female bodies. In this vein, feminism is constructed as inherently ‘Western’, while the bodies that carry out such feminisms and most of all their country of origin is entirely ‘othered’. Comparing the (self-)representations to other voices of female Russian dissent within US media, the author critically discuss the Western gaze of US mainstream media, its victimising strategies and homonationalistic construction of US identity and US nation in rejection of a ‘backward’ homophobic Russia.