The opening ceremony for the Sochi Winter Olympics will be kicking off tomorrow and, amidst all the usual fanfare that accompanies this spectacle, reports are starting to emerge that we can also expect one of Russia’s most popular and controversial acts of the ’00s to make an appearance as well. For those unfamiliar with the group, t.A.T.u, have a look at the music video for one of their better-known tracks, “All The Things She Said”.
Notice anything strange? Well, aside from not being a particularly good song, the music video also exploits fantasies many straight males seem to have regarding (in this case highly sexualized) women in schoolgirl outfits in order to sell the song to viewers. The video was released back in 2002, and the group has been accused of engaging in “lipstick lesbianism” ever since, and of using their sexuality and controversy solely for the purpose of selling more records. One-half of the duo, Lena Katina, admitted in January of last year that the two weren’t actually lesbians, and said that it wasn’t “fun playing lesbians anymore.” The admission is unsurprising given that both Katina and her bandmate, Julia Volkova, have been married to men at some point in their lives. However, Volkova has officially stated in interviews that she is bisexual.
Aside from Katina and Volkova, it isn’t really anyone’s place to judge whether their sexuality is “authentic,” but given the whirlwind of events that has been surrounding Russia, its homosexual community, and the country’s anti-gay propaganda law for the past year, their selection as the openers for the Olympics comes off as either vicious trolling on the Olympic committee’s part, or an instance of remarkably poor timing. Is Russia using t.A.T.u to try and show the world that the nation is tolerant of homosexuality, or is the duo’s inclusion in the Games only further evidence of the fact that Putin and his PR team just don’t get it?