by Kelly Mulrooney

Pussy Riot is a Russian punk-rock feminist band that not only advocates for women, but also LGBTQIA+ rights in Russia, all the  while actively opposing Putin's oppressive rule. The band was founded in August of 2011 and since has served as a symbol of rebellion and change for not only Russians, but marginalized people everywhere. Putin and the Russian government have not taken kindly to Pussy Riot's demonstrations. On March 3, 2012, Russian police jailed Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina for "hooliganism." The women claim their prosecution amounted to torture. The women of Pussy Riot most notably protested the "anti-gay" laws and the "anti gay extremism" laws by publicly kissing policewomen. This rebellion put Pussy Riot on the world stage and  Putin's radar. 

Pussy Riot's protest isn't limited to Putin's misogyny and homophobia; they also condemn his non-secular government. One of their main oppositions with Putin are his ties to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 2012, five members of the group staged a riot at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow in protest of the Church's support for Putin during his political campaign. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church spoke out after the protest, saying that Pussy Riot "does the work of the devil." 

Pussy Riot's message is so revolutionary for women especially due to their name. They are dissociating the word "pussy" from previously associated synonyms like "weak," "craven," and "scared" and are identifying it with empowered women. 


The Official YOUTH 2015 Medley of Guilty-Pleasure Summer-Reads

by Ryan Benson

To accommodate my ever-growing hunger for guilty-pleasure reads this summer, I asked several girls whom I know to be voracious readers to confess to me their favorite guilty-reads. The girls answered with überly sophisticated books, überly cheesy books, and überly juicy books, leaving me with a grand miss-mosh of überly delicious books. Now, without further ado, may I present to you the Official YOUTH 2015 Medley of Guilty-Pleasure Summer-Reads. Let's start with my favorite guilty-read, though, because I'm self-centered and I like going first ;) . 

1.) The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider 

"I'm such a sucker for those quirky, coming-of-age romance novels that line the shelves of the Young Adults section in Barnes and Nobles'. I'm addicted to the combination of the misunderstood protagonist, weird but witty best-friend, and intelligent, often Shakespeare-obsessed love-interest. I just read The Beginning of Everything (recommended to me by the one and only Ellen Hardison) and it definitely hit the spot, but I also love An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, and How They Met and Other Stories, a collection of short-stories about love by David Levithan." -- Meeeeee!!! (Ryan Benson)(p.s. lol why did I put my own words in quotations?)

2.) Dorothy Sayers' murder mystery series about Lord Peter Wimsey

"The best ones include Harriet Vane (his eventual wife). Who doesn't love a good English murder mystery? And their love story is wit, charm, and loveliness in itself." -- Mela Kirkpatrick 

3.) Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding 

"If you're sorta boy crazy, pick up a copy of Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. It's hilarious and British! ANd there's also a movie version -- Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth (Netflix!)" -- Adelaide Gorelick 

4.) Crash by Jerry Spinelli 

"Crash by Jerry Spinelli is a classic. It tells the tale of a bulky football player and his unlikely friendship with the nerdy kid who lives down the street. Even dorky, non-athletic kids (such as myself) have stuff to offer too." -- Adelaide Gorelick 

5.) Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

"Fifty Shades of Grey. Enough said." -- Adelaide Gorelick 

6.) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

"I actually read this classic the summer before Junior year at the beach, and got made fun of senior year when my classmates found out I had already read this class assigned novel of my own volition years earlier. It's actually an incredibly descriptive, exciting mystery novel of sorts, filled with 'evil stepmother' and the familiar 'fairy godmother' archetypes. And of course, a fantastic love affair. Don't let the old language and formality of Ms. Brontë keep you from reading this." -- Currie Engel 

7.)The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

"Despite the fact that I have read and reread these books, and that the HP fever has definitely waned in the past years, I LOVE the comfort and quirkiness of the Griffindor common room. I always find something new or funny that connects with later books, and it's really great to rediscover the (occasionally cheesy) magic of Hogwarts." -- Currie Engel 

8.) The Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard 

"Despite having never actually watched the show, these are some of my favorite guilty-pleasure books. The plot twists and drama that occur is so ridiculous that they're fun to read just for a good laugh. As goofy as these books are, some weekends I find myself picking up one on a whim and getting sucked in for hours." -- Annie Maley 

9.) E.E. Cummings' Selected Poems

"My favorite guilty read is undoubtedly E.E. Cummings' compilation of selected poems. His confusing punctuation and sensual near-jibberish is pretty much all I need to get zen and chill out whether I'm in bed at 3am or in a hammock on the beach." -- Lili Zay 

10.) The Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton

"Nothing catches my fancy like a British mystery, especially those in the 'cosy' class. Usually the setting is a charming village with manor houses and quaint cottages. There are plenty of murders but not much blood and lots of hints as to whodunit. And they usually come in a series. One of my favorites is Agatha Raisin by M.C. Beaton." -- Edith Benson 

11.) Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

"Every Soul a Star is reaaallly good because it has three mystical, different characters, Ally, Bree, and Jack, who meet on the night of a solar eclipse and have amazing adventures!!!! Each of the characters' varying perspectives and personalities provides an interesting, fun summer read." -- Sammy Ferris 


Weekend Playlist: Road Trippin'

A road trip playlist that doesn't even feature 'Blister in the Sun.'
 By Amy & Ryan

Avoid the cliches on your next road trip and groove to some music that will make you feel as free as you deserve to be this summer. Also works for plane rides, train rides, or whatever kind of transportation you're into. Listen to the link below(:


Adventure Land

 Photographs by Ryan Benson

Thanks a cajillion to Sammy and Caroline for letting me capture your whimsical afternoon adventure.