Yulia Tsvetkova

Yulia Tsvetkova: Censorship and Persecution for Body Positivity Art Series

Words read: “Real women have wrinkles and that is normal” and “Real women have stretch marks and that is normal.” Image courtesy of Facebook: Yulia Tsvetkova

Russian officials charged artist and feminist, Yulia Tsvetkova with “Gay Propoganda” and “Criminal Pornography” in response to her body positivity art series “Women are Not Dolls” and community theater work related to gender identity. 

In other words, Russian police say that her body positivity illustrations violate pornography laws. According to the artist, she has a 1% chance of being acquitted.

Tsvetkova created the art series with intentions to normalize natural bodies. The goal is to help women feel more comfortable. The images depict women with body hair, menstruation, wrinkles and grey hair, and body fat. Words on the illustrations read “And this is normal”. Tsvetkova also created an online group called “The Vagina Monologues.” She posted stylized drrawing of vaginas in the group. This caused outrage.

Yulia Tsvetkova: Fined $700 for LGBTQ art

In the past, the artist ran a children’s theater group. Her work there included stories about LGBTQ families. Due to the severity of death threats, Yulia closed her theater. She also posted drawings inspired by a gay couple with two adopted children. Someone reported the couple to the police who intended to take their children away. The family fled. They now live safely outside of Russia. As a result of the drawing, Russian officials fined the artist for “gay propaganda”.

Words read: “Family is where love is, Support LGBT+ Family.” Facebook: Yulia Tsvetkova

“The persecution of activists, LGBTQ people, and feminists is a state policy, it’s happening all over Russia.”

Tvsetkova quoted in The Art Newspaper

The situation has caused international uproar. The charges Yulia Tsvetkova faces serve as a warning not only to her but to all artists. The message is clear. Do not dare to speak about body positivity and LGBTQ rirghts. In response, more than 200,000 people have signed the petition for police to drop the charges. Meanwhile, Tsvetkova has been on house arrest since November of 2019. Her trial will take place privately in April of 2021. The artist faces up to six years in prison.

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