Conchita Wurst’s win during the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 on Saturday has received negative backlash in Russia, where one social media response has been for Russian men to shave their beards in protest.
A prominent Russian Channel One television personality, Andrei Malakhov, tweeted a picture of himself prepared to shave with a caption that translated to: “Conchita Wurst shocked!”
Шокирован Кончитой Вурст! pic.twitter.com/NLFEbE6gMF— Андрей Малахов (@a_malahov) May 10, 2014
Russian rapper Aleksandr Stepanov, known as “ST,” posted a photo to Instagram with the hashtag, “Prove that you’re not Conchita” (#докажичтотынекончита). [Note we can’t reproduce the Instagram photos here because “ST” is using the middle finger in the photos.]
Here are some other Russians getting in on the trend:
Of course, the backlash over Conchita is hardly new. Before the competition, Russian and Belarus citizens launched online petitions to ban any television station that broadcast Eurovision if Wurst competed. A Russian Facebook group calling for Wurst to be banned gained 36,000 fans.
But it should be noted that Conchita is not the first gender-bending Eurovision winner. Dana International, a transgender Israeli who underwent a sex reassignment in 1993, won the contest in 1998. That year, Russia did not broadcast the competition, which was in part because the country couldn’t participate due to low scores the year before.