Wkipedia entry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FEMEN
FEMEN (Ukrainian:Фемен) is a Ukrainian protest group based in Kiev, founded in 2008. The organisation became internationally known for organizing topless protests against sex tourists, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social, national and international ills. Some of the goals of the organisation are: “To develop leadership, intellectual and moral qualities of the young women in Ukraine” and “To build up the image of Ukraine, the country with great opportunities for women”.
Female university students between 18 and 20 years old form the backbone of the movement. In Kiev, there are about 300 active participants in the movement. There are few male members of FEMEN. The group comprises some 20 topless activists and 300 fully clothed members. Most of its demonstrations are staged in Kiev, but FEMEN has also held actions in cities like Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia. While most of the protests have been ‘topless’ in 2010 one FEMEN protester exposed her buttocks outside a locked toilet in a demonstration to protest about the lack of public toilets in Kiev.
The goals of the organization is “to shake women in Ukraine, making them socially active; to organize in 2017 a women’s revolution.” The group has stated it has enjoyed limited success in pushing its agenda. As of late April 2010 the organisation is contemplating becoming a political party to run for seats in the next Ukrainian parliamentary election.
FEMEN justifies its provocative methods stating “This is the only way to be heard in this country. If we staged simple protests with banners, then our claims would not have been noticed”. The organisation plans to become the biggest and the most influential feminist movement in Europe.
Some members claim their involvement in FEMEN caused their families to become alienated from them.
FEMEN receives small financial backing by individuals (including DJ Hell).
Facebook initially blocked the FEMEN page because it suspected it was pornographic.
Late April 2011 the organization claimed it was setting up international branches in Warsaw, Zurich, Rome, Tel Aviv and Rio de Janeiro. They also claimed that after the early 2010 election of President Viktor Yanukovych the Security Service of Ukraine has attempted to intimidate the FEMEN activists.
FEMEN occasionally holds rallies outside Ukraine.
The movement was founded in 2008 by Anna Hutsol (born 1983, most FEMEN members are younger) after she became attuned to the sad stories of Ukrainian woman duped by false promises from abroad: “I set up FEMEN because I realised that there was a lack of women activists in our society; Ukraine is male-oriented and women take a passive role.” Since then the organization has staged noticeable erotically-flavored rallies (among others) near the building of the Cabinet of Ministers, at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the Turkish embassy in Ukraine and in front of the Iranian embassy to oppose the expected execution of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani.
Hutsol is adamantly opposed to legalizing prostitution in Ukraine. FEMEN proposed the introduction of criminal responsibility for the use of sex industry services late in May 2009.
A demonstration by a group called RU FEMEN in the Russian capital Moscow late April 2011 was immediately denounced as a fake offspring of FEMEN. FEMEN accused Russian political party United Russia of having set up this RU FEMEN.
Cultural and political image
FEMEN’s actions received criticisms in Ukraine for “being meaningless” or “being outright tasteless”. According to Ukrainian gender studies expert Tetyana Bureychak most Ukrainian women are unimpressed by FEMEN. According to sociologist Oleh Demkiv of the Lviv University FEMEN does not enjoy popular support.
According to Reuters “Femen represents — albeit on a modest scale — one of the few regular street protest movements”. In Ukraine the FEMEN activists have been labeled “girls Tymoshenko” and/or “Putin‘s agents[relevant? – discuss]; some parents of FEMEN activists have wondered if they were addicted to drugs. But the organization claims to be an independent organization “Beyond politics and beyond religion”.
The group’s actions have been reported in news-outlets such as CNN, BBC News, Der Spiegel, Die Welt, Independent.ie, France 24, on Euronews, Kyiv Post, Mizozo, USA Today, Reuters and The Washington Post.