Dazed magazine’s new project ‘My Russia’ focuses on the rebelling attitude of the Russian youth. Part of the series is the story of three young men who love to wear makeup and dress androgynously. The project has been divided into an article and film which was published in Dazed digital. The film project ‘Boys don’t cry’ has been directed by Turkina Faso and documents the daily life of these men, in a country infamous for prosecuting people from the LGBT community. The community faces violence, stereotype and assault in Russia, which increased significantly after the adoption of the 2013 Anti-gay law by the government. (HRW, 2014). In light of the Chechnya’s inhumane incident against the rights of the LGBT community, this project conveys a powerful and refreshing take on the LGBT youth in the country. The documentary style fashion film focuses on the hardship of these men, where they reveal the harsh reality of living in the Russian society. “All of my friends bought pepper spray, stun guns and batons too,” says Andrey, who is a social media influencer and 20 years old (2017). They also speak about their hopes for a better Russian society.
The project focuses on the qualitative and primary form of data collection and research. The director and interviewer take an ethnographic approach to interview the three men. Through this method, they are able to document the reality of the situation in Russia. The method provides an unbiased story and a holistic insight into the lives of the people (Agar, 1996). The director is able to clearly document the culture and social perspective of the society. In the film, a man in his mid-forties gives a disgusted look at Andrey who is being interviewed in the streets, which shows the behaviour of the older generation towards the youth who wear makeup. The film was able to reach thousands of viewers of Dazed magazine all across the world and created a viral discussion on social media. This viewership mostly consists of people inclined towards unconventional fashion content and between the age of 18-30 (Calcutt, 2015).
The project lacks quantitative and secondary research to provide data related to the number of LGBT Russians affected by violence and abuse. The project also doesn’t deliver the public opinion on LGBT rights, as it only focuses on the lives of the three interviewees. In the article, the director says that Russia would change and become more open due to the increase in openminded people in the country (Dazed digital, 2017), but is unable to provide quantitative or qualitative data to support this statement. To understand the public opinion of the citizens, it is fundamental to conduct surveys and analyse their attitude and feeling towards the LGBT community. It is also significant to provide quantitative data to the audience by adding numerical data in the film and article. These quantitative data could be regarding the ‘number of LGBT people subjected to violence’ or ‘number of people against LGBT rights.’ The project should also suggest solutions to improve public opinion which would change the hostile attitude towards the community. Although the article and film lack in some parts of research and application, it is able to portray a realistic view of the gay youth in Russia and opens a dialogue for reform.