Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, has a group of young women who follow him around and lend their support (and camera-readiness) to his initiatives. Calling themselves the Medvedev Girls, they most recently appeared at a press event with the President on November 9.
The girls claim to be a grassroots group, brought together by sheer love for their country’s leader, and they’ve lent their support to Medvedev in a number of nontraditional ways. Over the summer, for instance, three of the ladies made headlines when they showed up at a square in Moscow and offered to take off their clothes layer by layer if people gave up their beer (they eventually stripped down to bikinis). The stunt was pulled in support of an anti-alcohol campaign that Medvedev was waging.
Some have speculated that the ladies are trying to best a group called “Putin’s Army,” which famously created a video asking young women to flash their breasts if they supported Putin.
The issue of women using their sexuality to influence politics is, of course, complicated, far-reaching and long-standing. It dates back centuries, including everything from women suspected of seducing men in order to spy for their country to, more recently (and perhaps a bit more benignly), Obama Girl.
As far as I’m concerned, if women are acting of their own free will and no one is getting hurt, they are free to do with their sexuality as they see fit. Besides, it’s a lot more respectable than some other, less forthright political maneuvers that elected officials tend to favor, like, you know…lying, corruption, vengeance, blackmail, old alliances, new alliances, war, smear campaigns, and so forth.
As far as the argument that using sexuality reduces women to objects and celebrates their bodies over their minds, I would say that it’s just the opposite — these young women seem to me to have a very clear understanding of what they want, and how to turn the political tide in their favor. It’s like wearing a red tie to a debate, but more…hot pink.