Sex, Drugs & Fascism: The Dangerous and Disturbing Art of Dopingirl

It appears this post has stirred up some controversy.  We are no stranger to that but the core members of the Pigtails staff feel there is a need for a disclaimer explaining why this item has been presented.  Because of the philosophical bent of modern fascism, it should go without saying that we at Pigtails do not endorse or condone Zashtopic’s message.  However, we do not ignore talent here and it would be foolish to put our heads in the sand and pretend this artist does not exist.  It would be interesting to understand better the artist’s drive  to produce this work and, in time, she may come to regret the folly of her youth and find herself subject to censorship as fashions change in her country.  It should also go without saying that Pigtails is not promoting some kind of pro-pedophilia agenda.  Pip has clearly stated in the accompanying text his disgust at this kind of didactic propaganda.  The existence of this work is a cautionary reminder about the state of society which artists seem compelled to express and that we should never become cavalier about the power of imagery in the service of dehumanizing regimes.  -The Staff

Although I have featured the work of far-right artists in the past (in my last big article, in fact), I have never focused on contemporary artists with far-right leanings, largely for two reasons: first, because the great majority of those artists simply do not produce work which fits the theme of this blog, and second, because, as a rule, I do not like to give any of Pigtails’ precious attention to fascists.  But I vowed when I founded this blog that I would cover the gamut of on-topic work regardless of the social/political affiliations of the artists.  In fact, I’d say that to be truly unbiased in terms of our coverage it was really inevitable that such an artist would be spotlighted here in time.  Rest assured, this was not a decision I made lightly.  If the contemporary artist in question had simply produced some bland one-off, or if he or she created images of little girls with some regularity but they were not particularly challenging or original, then I would likely have bypassed their work for something much more interesting.

But here is a contemporary fascistic artist who, for a number of reasons, could not simply be avoided.  For one thing Katya Zashtopik, who goes by the online sobriquet Dopingirl, is not a complete unknown even here in the West (though she does remain completely underground here and is certainly controversial).  Her work—comprised of illustration, photography and a little videography, sometimes in combination—has apparently been used in advertising and billboards in Russia, though you likely aren’t going to find any examples outside of that country.  Furthermore, Zashtopik herself is young, thin and undeniably attractive, often modeling in her own work.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (Self-Portrait)

To some extent Zashtopik has created a real brand, with her signature pink and white capsule, sometimes decorated with plus and minus signs (a pill popper’s yin-and-yang) or flames, and her girl & crossbones logo . . .

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Dopingirl Logo

. . . as well as a particular style in both her illustration and photography work which rests somewhere between cartoon cuteness, fashion mag elegance and unabashed sexual bravado, all of it tweaked by the sometimes sly and at other times conspicuous sheen of her far-right allegiances.  If that wasn’t enough to make her stand out, how about tossing pedophilia into the mix?  The most fascinating aspect of Dopingirl’s work, I think, is how she reconciles these seemingly disparate elements into a kind of fantasy world where tall, young, fashion-forward Nazi men date preteen girls and roam the European wastelands as a couple, coldly executing their enemies (and looking like Vogue advertisements while they do it) as the Grim Reaper looks on approvingly.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (1)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (2)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (3)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (4)

It’s a unique and chilling concept, and yet somehow it all feels of a piece.  There’s always been something a little inherently fascist about high fashion (high fashism?), and the Nazis certainly fetishized the Aryan body.  Moreover, Dopingirl simply takes early 19th century Europe’s obsession with youthful feminine beauty and cranks it up to eleven.  As for the drugs, they are a fixture of pretty much all contemporary youth subcultures whether those subcultures are left-wing, right-wing or no-wing.

The pedophilic aspects, however, are something quite new, at least for modern incarnations of fascism, as pedophiles are usually at the top of the list of categorical enemies of the far right.  I suppose if confronted, Dopingirl’s defenders might argue that the young girl in these images is actually just a stylized waifish young woman, and that argument might have some merit if not for the fact that Dopingirl’s primary muse and most frequent model is a little girl named Olya (last name unknown) whose relationship to Zashtopik is uncertain.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (5)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (6)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (7)

Zashtopik seems much too young to have a daughter of Olya’s age—between 6 and 11 in the images in which she appears—especially when you see them together:

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (8)

My hunch is that Olya is a young sister.  At any rate, it would be rather more sinister for a mother to present her daughter in such a sexualized manner than it would be for a big sister to present her younger sibling that way, though it’s arguably still pretty creepy.  Although none of Dopingirl’s photos of Olya or the other little girls in her work were blatantly pornographic that I could see, several of her illustrations were (these images, which I will not share here, included fetishized urination and little girls performing fellatio on little boys—the worst one depicted a naked girl of about 12 licking a grown man’s testicles), and a few of them seemed to depict a more cartoonized version of Olya. Thus, Dopingirl’s work comes dangerously close to obscenity.  Again, it isn’t clear that Olya is intended to be the model in those more cartoonish drawings, but there are some quite realistic ones, including a couple of nudes, where it is obviously her.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (9)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (10)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (11)

In one photo series, Olya, wearing a flesh-tone body suit similar to the one worn by dancer Maddie Ziegler in Sia’s Chandelier video, toys with a large albino python.  In the Sia video the nude leotard was suggestive of a person being presented as raw and stripped of pretensions.  In this case it’s a reference to Eve, the first woman, and her flirtations with the serpent Lucifer.  The images are stylized, presented against a washed out background and endowed with a modish eroticism.  Perhaps the only thing that saves these images from being straight up soft-core erotica is that there is an underlying theme here, a notion that, far from being the innocent victim, Eve was quite knowingly complicit in her dabbling with the devil. Presenting here as a child, then, is problematic.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (12)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (13)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (14)

Are these photos exploitative?  I would say that in and of themselves they are not, but taken into context with the rest of Dopingirl’s work there is definitely a troubling quality to them.  I’m not arguing that any of these images do not qualify as art, only that the overall picture painted by Dopingirl’s work is disturbing in ways that simple child nudes, even those that toy with an innocent sort of sexuality (as some of David Hamilton’s work does), are not.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (15)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (16)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (17)

In any other hands this next image would be charming and cute, but from Dopingirl it feels vulgar, as if she secretly approves of this young girl dolling herself up to look like a promiscuous young woman rather than the child she is.  To Dopingirl this is not an innocent little girl playing dress-up; it’s a young whore in training.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (18)

This one too feels as if the artist isn’t so much commenting on a troubling youth trend as outright endorsing it.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (19)

Given the hardcore policy of artistic censorship in Russia, the brazenness with which Dopingirl continues to flaunt her pedophilic fantasy scenarios is rather astonishing . . . until one considers who’s in charge there.  No doubt if her work had a left-wing bent she would’ve been censored (at the very least) long ago.  But because it flatters the fascist-leaning Putin regime, Dopingirl is largely left alone.  Such hypocrisy in the far right is historically well-documented.  Even so, if I hadn’t done enough research to know that Dopingirl is deadly serious about her far-right values and her involvement in the fashion industry, I would swear the entirety of her output was pure satire.  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  I worry that she may effectively be pimping Olya, putting her on display for some day in the not-too-distant future when all the best Slavic guys now lining up for her can put in their bids. That day may come sooner than later.

Of course, the most problematic aspect of her work is its unsubtle acclamation of Nazism and especially a kind of sleek modern form of fascism.  Notice in this next photo/illustration collage the reproductions of three painted portraits in the background of (from left to right) France’s far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin.  The originals of these paintings are hanging in a right-wing affiliated pub in Moscow called the Union Jack.  This appears to be Dopingirl’s office or workstation.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (19)

Here Dopingirl literally borrows a Nazi icon, the Totenkopf or Death’s Head, and marries it to a well-known sexual symbol, the Playboy bunny logo, thus eroticizing both death and fascism.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (20)

The sexualization of death is the most common theme recurring throughout Dopingirl’s work.  Indeed, her Instagram is called Death and the Maiden, after the title of a play by Ariel Dorfman.  In many examples of her illustration her little Aryan girl is hinted to be the sexual  plaything of the grim reaper. It’s clever and repulsive . . . mostly repulsive.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (21)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (22)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (23)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (24)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (25)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (26)

Again, it would be easy to imagine that the world of Dopingirl’s illustration is an entirely separate venture from the photographic work if the evidence against this wasn’t so substantial. Here little Olya is seen not only indulging in gun-play but also kissing and fondling a chocolate skull.  The truly disturbing part of this is Olya’s obvious and casual familiarity with the pistol, which she holds to her head in one image and feigns blowing her brains out by crossing her eyes.  I, for one, do not find this particularly amusing.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (27)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (28)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (29)

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (30)

Perhaps the most astute of Dopingirl’s symbolic illustrations depicts her little golden girl taking on the grim reaper’s mantle herself and looming gigantic over the city, as if she is embodying the Hindu god Shiva’s words, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (31)

But the image of Dopingirl’s that stays with me is this final one, a cartoonized girl’s head in an SS hat and a spiked collar attached to a leash. It reminds me that, at heart, fascists are about subjugation even of their own people. The girl drools, having been reduced to a slavering sex object.  She does not look happy, and that’s as it should be, for, despite the gloss and glimmer of fascism’s appeal, in the end there is no real comfort in it for anyone but the soulless and the sadistic.

Katya Zashtopik (Dopingirl) – Title Unknown (32)

41 thoughts on “Sex, Drugs & Fascism: The Dangerous and Disturbing Art of Dopingirl

  1. Interesting style but not terribly unique by any stretch, as many of the motifis are lifted from manga such as Yu Aida’s “Gunslinger Girl” , vintage advertising and even hentai doujinshi such as Neo Black in Teikoku Onanies. Softness mixed with darkness, whatever works.

    • Perhaps he is an influence on her, but I think they have very different sensibilities. Trevor Brown’s stuff is somewhat satirical. I don’t get the feeling that Dopingirl is being satirical with her work though.

        • Yes. Use the search function on this site and you will see that I did a post on Brown, called ‘Trevor Brown’s Schooldaze’.

          [In the right column of the main page, there is the category list, see in it section (C) Artists by Name or Username, then in it Brown, Trevor – Christian]

          • Yes works 🙂 Thank you
            To avoid the workflow “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” why not on Mastodon? (the federated social network)

          • Very simply, we like to have control of the posts that get made here. As you can imagine, we get trollish posts from time to time that have to be weeded out, and we also (very occasionally) get some comments that are inappropriate for one reason or another. It’s just better to have editorial control over that aspect of the blog.

  2. I did a google search on Katya Zashtopik as well as Dopingirl and could not a artist site with a bio. When was Zashtopik born? I find such a lack of informattion to be suspicious, due to the content of her work I suspect that she is an agent, as Aleister Crowley was agent. Crowley is best known as a founding father of modern occultism but he was also a agent of British Intelligence. Hence, I have become very suspicious of occult culture and imagery.
    Once knows how the inner ring opperated in the past, one become sensitve to the activities in the present. I perceive her work as a form of Psyop to perpetuate the repression of Eros.
    I realize this may be taken as a conspiracy theory, but you noticed, “Given the hardcore policy of artistic censorship in Russia, the brazenness with which Dopingirl continues to flaunt her pedophilic fantasy scenarios is rather astonishing.” This type of work is permited because it demonizes Eros which in turn encourages censorship.
    There’s a lot of things I’ve read that makes me suspicious of this work, for example, comics have long been used in Psyop.

    • Sorry, but I find your theory completely absurd. First off, a lot of artists don’t have bio pages on the web (I don’t). Secondly, the theory that Crowley was a secret agent is not taken seriously by most credible authorities on the man, but even if he was, it has no bearing on this. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Thirdly, I’ve seen enough art out of modern Russia to know that the Russian government is not anti “Eros”–at best it is anti-leftist, and many artists are traditionally leftist or left-leaning in their politics. Far-right governments (and some far-left governments) have a history of censoring what they perceive as sexual decadence, but they also have a well-established history of hypocrisy. That is clearly what’s taking place here.

      In conclusion, just because an artist holds viewpoints or ideas that make you uncomfortable and don’t fit snugly into your worldview, you can’t just write that off as a sham. That’s far too convenient. Artists are often a mass of inconsistencies, weirdnesses and and seemingly conflicting ideas, some of which may appeal to us and others of which may drive us nuts. Lewis Carroll was extremely conservative in some ways and extremely liberal in others, a man both all too in step with his time and a man surprisingly at odds with his time. In fact, most artists are like this when you dig deep enough into their psyches. You of all people ought to know that. Provide me with some convincing evidence of your theory and I’ll take another look at it. Otherwise, I take Dopingirl and her work at face value, which is clearly how she intends it to be taken.

      • What I should have said before is that I really admire you for being openly critical of Dopingirl. Ron seemed indicate that comments on work should be rather neutral. There is a trend today for people to aviod speaking openly due to the environment of relativism and pluralism. Dopingirl’s images of girls could be positive expression if they were only in a different context. You had the sensitivity to recognize how these images are disturbing.
        I realize because Dropigirl is Russian it difficult to find much information on her by doing a search in English. I have a friend who is Russian who may be able to find more. I find it very strange that I can’t find an Dropigirl art site. She designed images for the promotional campaign for the 2014 Winter Olympics but she dosen’t have a website? We’re in Baudrillard’s Disneyland.

        • Thanks, Susan. I understand your concerns, but I think we have to operate by Occam’s Razor here. Until there is any proof that Dopingirl is a fake, we should take her work at face value. I think to some extent her persona is self-created, but that applies to a LOT of artists, especially 19th and 20th century artists. So, not fake but a bit pretentious. Again, how many contemporary artists does that apply to? Quite a few. That being said, I would love to discredit her as a fake, so by all means continue your research and see what it turns up.

    • I don’t think there’s much of a connection aside from the basic concept of the large adult male with an underage female lover. The ‘RanXerox’ series was apolitical and was meant to suggest that civilization was becoming extremely corrupt and immoral. Thus, it’s protagonists were never intended to be idealized, and the comics were in no way a glorification of violence and underage sex. Whereas, Dopingirl sees her heroes as actual heroes, and their violence is being romanticized. In that context the underage sex is also romanticized.

      • I agree with you regarding the glorification/idealization, but I’m not sure that one can write something so pointedly about moral and societal decay and *not* be making a political point of some sort. We live in a political society.
        In both there seems to be an element of the transgressive, even if it’s for different purposes. Transgressive sexuality and transgressive violence. I agree with you that RanXerox was making a point about moral decadence. However at the same time, the far right and fascism often use the same rhetoric of decadence.
        I’m seeing a connection there, even if they aren’t saying the same thing precisely.

        • I just don’t see it. It’s very clear to me that Dopingirl idealizes youthful beauty and sees it in sexual terms. It’s everywhere in her work. And we also know she’s a fascist sympathizer. If her work was intended to be critical of pedophilia, she would not use representatives of the political group she identifies with as her critical group. She would show stereotyped Jews, blacks, Asians or some such. No, clearly this idea of men with preteen sexual partners is something that she has romanticized.

          • Yes, I agree with you as far as that goes. Maybe I haven’t been clear enough. I think it’s an interesting comparison between RanXerox and this artist because they *use* somewhat similar techniques (i.e. subversive violence, sexualization), but not because I think they’re making similar points.
            That got me thinking about how it’s an interesting concept, that different artists might be saying totally different things using similar techniques. Just like how in natural languages two people can say the same thing, but based on the tone they may be communicating opposite messages.
            In a similar way, RanXerox and this artist seem to be using comparable imagery, but Dopingirl apparently ‘plays it straight’, i.e. she means what she says, whereas the creator of RanXerox is being sarcastic, so to speak. Comparable imagery, opposite messages.

            It would be an interesting, albeit not likely achievable project to speak to both Dopingirl and the creator of RanXerox and find out their opinions on the moral decay of modern society, what they believe to be better goals for their cultures, where the most pressing dangers lie, etc. And then namely, how they intended to express their opinions in their art.

          • Well, one thing you should keep in mind is that RanXerox‘s art was created as part of a narrative, so we can more easily assess what the goal was there. We can take into account factors such as Lubna’s frequent abuse of Ranx, and his less frequent but still recognizable abuse of her. Their relationship is a dysfunctional one. hardly idealized. We also know from his behavior that Ranx is basically a ticking time bomb and not a particularly nice guy (he crushes a little girl’s hand when she offers him a flower) and that, if the series had come to its natural honest end (I believe the series ended prematurely), it would almost certainly have ended with the death(s) of one or both of its protagonists. RanXerox was a look at a civilization in meltdown, a modern-day Roman empire about to implode from its own excesses and the death of civility.

            Dopingirl’s work is not a narrative, but there’s enough of it extant that we can begin to form a picture, and that picture suggests that these figures are Dopingirl’s idealized fantasies. The relationship between the young adult male and the preteen girl—both of them beautiful and stylized, unlike the Frankensteinian Ranx with his blunt pig nose and jutting jaw—do not have a dysfunctional relationship at all. In fact, there is a perfect ménage à trois with the man, the girl and the grim reaper. They all work together as a unit, harmonious in their deadly games. They are never at odds, never fighting with each other.

            But your point about the different things that can be suggested by similar images is why I think art that addresses themes like child/adolescent sexuality cannot or should not be dismissed out of hand. Many people would look at RanXerox and see it’s underage sex scenes as obscenity because they are unable to think past the surface imagery, but a thoughtful viewer/reader can recognize that there is a point to it. They may not necessarily agree with the point (I don’t) but they can see that it isn’t just meant to titillate. Dopingirl’s work, on the other hand, seems to promote adult/child sexual relations.

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