Case Study: Galina Rymbu, “Moia vagina,” June 2020
On 27 June 2020, the prominent feminist poet Galina Rymbu published the poem «Моя вагина» (“My Vagina”) on her Facebook feed. «Моя вагина» is a solidarity poem, written in support of artist and LGBTQ activist Iuliia Tsvetkova, who is facing a charge of distributing pornography for her abstract paintings of vaginas in a group on the social media platform VKontakte. Rymbu’s poem created huge resonance: it was shared, translated and republished on various platforms on the web and in print, examined by researchers, and debated as both a work of literature and a political statement. The present article charts the story of this remarkable poem, from its origins to its formal properties, its place within contemporary feminist poetry and its close links to feminist activism, and the reactions it has triggered. It also analyses the follow-up poem Rymbu wrote in reply to her detractors, «Великая русская литература» (“Great Russian Literature”), with a focus on Rymbu’s ingenious play on personal pronouns. Finally, it will briefly look at the role of social media for the literary process in Russia, specifically the field of poetry.