Say you were to stumble across a rainbow poster of a man with chiseled cheekbones, bright blue eyeshadow, Marilyn Monroe red lipstick, and mile-long lashes. You’d probably think you were staring at Ronald McDonald or perhaps Jared Leto in drag, right? But if the image stemmed from Russia, then you'd actually likely be looking at the face of a digitally-altered Vladimir Putin in very heavy makeup. And you'd know it would be just the thing to make shit hit the fan.
It all started when a Russian citizen uploaded the Andy Warhol-inspired photo to VKontakte, the country’s largest social network, according to The New York Times. The problem, of course, is that Putin doesn't embrace gender fluidity in the same way as, say, Patrick Swayze does when he transforms into Miss Vida Boheme. No, he is the president of Russia — a self-identified hypermasculine one, at that — and such a look, according to official court documents by the Russian Ministry of Justice, suggests that he is gay. (Oh come on, Donald Trump is just a friend.)
Authorities called the image "extremist," and tossed it into the banned pile, along with 4,072 other photos dubbed illegal by the government. Documents claim that the illustration "hints to an alleged nonstandard sexual orientation of the Russian president." Anyone who tries to print, upload, or protest with the cosmetics-clad Putin pic will face a fine of up to 3,000 rubles (which comes out to about $53) or 15 days of administrative detention, The Times reports.
And this wouldn't be the only controversial law surrounding homosexuality: In 2013, Putin signed laws that banned same-sex couples from adopting Russian children and the public depiction and celebration of LGBT rights culture in Russia.
But let us be clear: What you put on your face — be it lipstick, concealer, or face cream — does not determine or define your sexual orientation. You can do whatever the hell you want to do with your look. As for all the other noise? Well, to steal a page straight from Putin's playbook, go ahead and shut it down.