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Let’s Breast Them

makFdSHgjmUPDATED 3 April 2013 (More photos and actions below)

Demonstrations and actions are now being held in Brussels, Rio, Montreal, Vancouver, Paris, Berlin, Bremen, Bonn, Frankfurt, Malmo, Gotenburg, Stockholm, Milan, Kiev, London, San Francisco, Warsaw and more. See below for more details.

The 19 year old Tunisian Amina who posted a topless photo of herself with the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” has disappeared. Most likely her family have kidnapped her and taken her to an unknown location, (earlier reports mentioned a psychiatric hospital). What’s clear is that they have removed all forms of communication from her so that she can no longer be reached.

Filmmaker Caroline Fourest says:

One of the people who kidnapped Amina has been boasting that they did it for “her own good”. It is unclear though whether she has been hospitalised  or held somewhere else. Her phone has been taken from her and communication with her has stopped so  we are no longer in contact with her.

amina14We anxiously await news about her safety and situation and warn those who are holding her not to hurt her and to release her immediately.

Recently, someone posing as “Amina’s lawyer” has said she is safe and at home. The lawyer seems to be representing the family’s interests rather than Amina’s in order to stop the public mobilisation in her defence. There has been no contact whatsoever with Amina so we need to keep fighting for her! Read FEMEN’s statement here.

Clearly, there is nothing wrong with Amina; it is society, the lack of women’s rights, the second class citizenship of women, the debased view of women’s bodies, the vile concept of honour and religious morality,  misogyny and Islamism and its Sharia law that are wrong.

In fact Amina’s is the voice of sanity, reason, protest and resistance.

She represents us all and we will not stop until she is safe and free.

Release Amina, and prosecute those who have threatened and kidnapped her.

April 4 is the international day to defend Amina. On this day, “Let’s Breast Them!”

femen2

On 4 April and beyond, groups and individuals can join in by highlighting her case, posting topless photos of themselves and their activism on FEMEN Tunisia’s Fanpage (and also email to contacts below), signing a petition, Tweeting #Amina, writing letters in her defence, “liking” FEMEN Tunisia’s Fanpage and more. The petition now has 106,000 signatures; let’s make it 150,000 in the next few days.

Here are some of the protests organised in Germany and Sweden. There will also be a protest at the Tunisian Embassy in London, 29 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1QG at 1pm.

You can also “like” Palestinian blogger Waleed Al-Husseini’s Facebook page Let’s Breast Them:

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Or use ex-Muslim @godlessyndicate’s banner as your own from now on and on 4 April:

logoAMina

 

 

 

 

 

Why not make use of Kiki Brill from Norway’s Facebook badge for Amina?

And have a look at what artist Molly Crabapple sketched:

Molly_crabapple

You can see all the photos in solidarity with Amina on FEMEN’s website but below are some of them.

9eUhbOz1AM3POtI9uZXnvV7YH0k0NG 0VIY5Ljr4jNCDlkNrt39Ivohs5tCpjfemen1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

femen3

femen4Y1prv8J4bh526557_500116583380968_450510794_nd7m8ragGeV269329_140962069414543_1931463902_nCapture d’écran 2013-03-25 à 22.46.08bUTkzX5AfUjihESHYF4VOBObi4IzYjU27G0ALSJJeHabxTCu2J4GRgnn3HTxAmina2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 BELGIUM 

Brussels, Belgium:  Parc du Cinquantenaire, 11.00

Contact: Margarite +33674980652

 

BRAZIL 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Contact: +551164333516 Sara

 

CANADA 

Montreal, Canada: 1255 rue university mtl, 13.00

Contact: Xenia (514) 688-2977

 

ونکوور – کانادا

Vancouver, Canada: Tunisian Consulate, 15:00 hours
پنجشنبه 4 آوریل ساعت 3 بعد از ظهر

در برابر کنسولگري تونس، شماره 800 تا 885 خیابان جرجیای غربی

Tunisia Consulate Vancouver, #800-885 west Georgia

 

FRANCE 

Paris, France: 25 Rue de Jouy, 11.00

Contact: +33605857180 Inna

 

GERMANY 

Berlin, Germany:  Brienner strase 7-8, 11.00

Contact: +4915739144432 Sasha

 

Bremen, Germany: Across from Islamic Regime of Iran’s Embassy, 14:00 hours

در حمایت از زندانیان سیاسی و اعتراض به تحجر اسلامی و بخصوص اعتراض به فتوای اخیر در مورد  دختر جوان تونسی آمينا تيلر در مقابل سفارت جمهوري اسلامي ايران تجمع ميکنيم.   ، زمان پنجم آوریل ساعت چهارده

بن : مقابل کنسولگري دولت تونس :

Bonn, Germany: Tunisian Embassy, 15:00  hours

Godesberger Allee 103, 53175 Bonn

روز پنج شنبه ۴ آوريل ساعت سه بعد از ظهر

Contact: تلفن تماس:

۰۰۴۹۱۷۷۸۲۹۷۸۴۱

0049-1778297841

 

فرانکفورت – آلمان

Frankfurt, Germany: City Centre 15:00-17:00 hours

میتینگ در مرکز شهر فرانکفورت , هاوپت واخه از ساعت 15:00 تا 17:00 روز پنجشنبه ۴ آوريل

 

ITALY

Milan, Italy: Viale Marche, 37, 12.00 Contact: Elvire +3360511926858

 

SWEDEN

مالمو:  ميدان  گوستاو آدولف در مرکز شهر مالمو

ساعت ۱۷ تا ۱۸

Malmo, Sweden: Gustau Adolph City Centre, from 17:00-18:00 hours

تلفن تماس: Contact:

0049-70- 363 80 88

 

گوتنبرگ : برونز پارکن مرکز شهر گوتنبرگ

Gotenburg, Sweden: 17:00 hours, next to Johanna Statue, Bronzparken

زمان : پنجشنبه 4 آپریل ساعت 17

مکان : برونزپارکن ، جنب مجسمه یوهانا

شماره تماس :  Contact:

0708544529

استکهلم: مقابل سفارت دولت تونس

Stockholm, Sweden: Across from Tunisian Embassy, 15:00 hours

روبروی سفارت تونس ساعت 3 بعدازظهر روز پنجشنبه ۴ آوريل

واقع در میدان

karlaplan

خیابان

 Narvavägen 32

تلفن تماس برای اطلاعات کیان آذر 0739681438 Contact: 

UKRAINE 

Kiev, Ukraine: ул. Лукьяновская 46, мечеть, 10.00

Contact: +380676566065 Anna

 

UNITED KINGDOM
لندن
: ساعت 1 بعدازظهر روز 4 آوریل مقابل سفارت تونس

London, UK: Across from Tunisian Embassy, 13:00 hours

آدرس: 29 Prince’s Gate, London SW7 1QG

UNITED STATES 

San Francisco, USA:  48 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco, CA

Contact: (415) 745 5244

 

Comments

  1. breastisbest says

    Just to clarify the Kiki Brill badge link above is for twitter and facebook users to add to a picture (not necessarily topless) they upload to show support/solidarity.
    Let’s breast them, the beasts!

      • shoaib Hussain says

        hi..Dear Maryam Namazie……….. I really like ur way of life styel… and I want to be work with you there…… and also u can vist here in Pakistan……….. lets chat with me on Skype plz…. shoby.stone this is my Skype………………… shoby.stone

  2. alanflynn says

    The solidarity shown by these women with Amina is heartwarming and is a proud defiance of the Islamist bullyboys.

    • Contessa de Metoncula says

      Mirko, why don’t you? Have no guts? No cojones? That is typical..
      Those women have more than you..Don’t hide behind courageous women because you weaken the cause..Then get out of the way because we have work to do against spineless voyeurs and cowards like you!!!

      • Mirko says

        Contessa,i ask to her because i didnt know if have anothers commitments or events which will be attended, I never thought that Maryam has not the courage to do this, indeed has plenty of courage and accurate with that question I did not want to offend anyone

  3. Senga says

    @Contessa:

    That is exactly the kind of rude and incomprehensible reply that gives women a bad name. Mirko was simply asking a question, and you respond like a hateful, brain-dead automaton FemNazi. Do us women a favor and don’t stand up for women’s rights, since you obviously have a comprehension issue. Mthanks.

    • Sara says

      Please don’t use the term FemNazi. The Nazis persecuted and killed millions; all feminists have ever done is fight for equality. True, some may be angry and overzealous, but the last time I checked that isn’t a crime. It is beyond offensive – not to mention ridiculous – to try to align feminism with an ideology that was based around racial segregation, bigotry, warmongering and hatred. Do us women a favour and think twice before using such terms.
      Thanks!

  4. Uday says

    here’s what i don’t get….ok im a woman, and im all for equal rights for women and i too am sick of the bullying that occurs…however, why is our form of protest always led by hey whip our breasts out??? there are so many roads to take to protest and help out our fellow sisters, but come on…being topless isn’t doing much but giving morons a show. knock it off please and use intelligent methods so people will take us more seriously….almost makes me ashamed to be a woman when all i see is girls taking off their tops saying oh im making a statement. no you’re not. the tunisian girl was because in her culture it’s a huge offense, in our world however, not so much….so please smarten up kids.

    • says

      Don’t confuse things. Commodification of women’s bodies does not mean there is anything wrong with our bodies or nudity. When nudity is used to protest, it can be a very strong statement. Particularly given that Islamism demands we be covered up and to disappear completely. It can be an important form of resistance.

    • Sara says

      Maryam is right. Breasts in our culture may be visible all the time, but only as sexual objects. Women baring their breasts are normally seen as submissive creatures acting only to titillate men and give them viewing pleasure. Reclaiming one’s body and using it to protest and make a statement, instead of being just a passive object, is a VERY powerful statement. Why are we so scared of breasts anyway? Who made us so ashamed of them? Who made them into something to be enjoyed by morons, and not just part of our bodies? Ask yourself that.

  5. Shmeetes says

    This is exactly why people don’t listen to feminists. Because we think that to protest = to shock society into agreeing with us. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that’s smart. If I flash my breasts at someone it will only freak them out, not make them listen to me or take me seriously. Change can only happen if new ideas are introduced slowly and maintaining respectful attitudes towards those we are fighting against, and by keeping with the standards of discourse expected in this day and age. Otherwise we stoop down to their level.

    • Matt Schultz says

      “Change can only happen if new ideas are introduced slowly and maintaining respectful attitudes towards those we are fighting against, and by keeping with the standards of discourse expected in this day and age”

      I understand what you’re trying to say here, but history is replete with examples of change only occurring when oppressed groups demanded change and refused to respect the status quo. To me it seems incredibly belittling to tell someone that they must respect a society which doesn’t respect them.

    • Sara says

      I don’t know if you remember, but the Suffragettes in Britain went on hunger strike and one of them even threw herself under a horse in order to get the vote. Similarly, womens’ libbers in the 60s went on huge marches and burned their bras in order to receive equality. Shock tactics can work very nicely.

      Also, breasts are a natural part of the body and something that women should NOT be ashamed of. The hyper-sexualised image of breasts has occurred as part of a culture that objectifies women as objects for the male gaze; we are comfortable seeing breasts on sexy models in magazines, on television and in advertising, but when a normal woman breastfeeds her baby (the use breasts are intended for) suddenly everybody is terribly uncomfortable.

      I like the idea of subverting ideas of what is hidden and taboo and reclaiming one’s body in order to use it for protest. I especially like the idea of showing solidarity with these Tunisian women, for whom showing their breasts is an even more daring and dangerous move. I don’t see why anyone should be offended or freaked out just because I’m not doing it merely for titillation and if they are, perhaps they should think about why that is.

      You don’t get anywhere by keeping your head down and playing nice. You have to be a gadfly in order to effect change. I know feminists irritate people and I DON’T CARE. I’ll stop being annoying when people change their attitudes.

    • says

      No fundamental change has ever occurred by taking things slow. This has only ever benefited the status quo. Real change has always been about doing that which is not considered the norm, breaking and challenging taboos and demanding change rather than quietly waiting for it.

      • Mirko says

        what i have asked to you Maryam was an only simple question,i wasnt my intention create a lot of mess,maybe i was misunderstand :(

      • Shmeetes says

        Of course I support challenging the status quo. But a hunger strike is one thing – it stirs compassion within people, it pokes at their humanity – and breast flashing is another – especially if the opponent in question is Islamic fundamentalism. If you guys think fighting extremism with extremism is a brilliant plan, then clearly our perspectives are irreconcilable. But I think extremism only begets extremism. And among all the pushing and shoving, people overlook the importance of LISTENING to one another.

        Look at what happened to Golshifteh Farahani. Look at Salman Rushdie.

        Look at what happened to Rajib Haider in Bangladesh, the atheist blogger who was stabbed to death because of his obscene portrayal of Muhammad.

        Islamists will chase you to the ends of the earth with a death threat, and even the moderate-minded people of Islam will sit on the fence when faced with images of people like Amina because these things are so far removed from their culture. If I burned a copy of the Koran in front of even a moderate Muslim simply because “I DON’T CARE”, I doubt they’ll listen to anything I have to say after that. People will only listen to you if they trust you.

        No one asked you to be quiet – just well informed and approachable with regards to your strategy.

        • says

          How absurd to compare topless activism with Islamism. Your problem is that you are prone to blame the victim and dissenter rather than Islamism. Rajib was killed because of obscene portrayal of Mohammad? You justify it by saying that his action is obscene, implying that any harm to Amina is her fault. Your problem is that you are soft on Islamism. You may not like what Amina does but it doesn’t harm anyone; it’s quite the opposite with what Islamism does. Also the point of free expression is that it is ours to express ourselves how we choose. You express yourself your way and let Amina express hers her way. What you really need to focus on is that fact that a 19 year old could die just for posting a photo of herself on facebook. And you have the nerve to call it extremism and implicate her in her persecution.

          • Shmeetes says

            I didn’t once say Amina is to blame. I said there are safer and more effective methods for this battle – where so many bright young people don’t need to throw themselves into danger in the name of protest. These Islamists are murderers, that was the whole point of my argument! So how am I soft towards Islamism? You obviously missed the point I was trying to make about gaining support of the moderates. I was discussing strategy, not blaming anyone or saying they deserve to be killed/hurt. But since you’re the veteran here, who am I to say anything right?

            To end on a peaceful note, I absolutely wish for Amina to be found safe and sound, and for those who mistreated her to be dealt with appropriately. You’re activism and this blog is an inspiration to all of us (I’m only 22, I still have alot to learn).

          • Mirko says

            I hope Amina can be free at soon because is an innocent victim of the islamism and she dont deserve to be jailed or judge like a mad.But if someone decide the death for what her have done,the shame fall on the head of all people have been against her.

        • Sara says

          Going topless is not extremism. It’s not as if these women are using violence. Our breasts are part of our bodies and exposing them hurts no-one. It is only considered “extreme” because the female form has been stigmatised to such an extent that it is only seen as acceptable to bare it for porn magazines or sex scenes.

          On the other hand, Islamic extremism hurts many people. It leads to rape, murder, child marriage, forced marriage, domestic violence and systemic oppression of women, not to mention gay people.

          In Islamic countries, women learn to be ashamed of their bodies and that they only exist for their husband’s pleasure. By taking topless photos of themselves, these women make a powerful statement about their own personal autonomy.

          They are not fighting fire with fire. They are fighting it with water. The truth is that radical Islam is anti-intellectualism, it does not listen to reason, and it can ONLY be changed by the spreading of ideas that cause ordinary people to rebel and accept the status quo no longer.

          • alanflynn says

            Watching a programme which depicted indigenous women of the Amazon on tv last night – peaceably and happily going about their business with their breasts uncovered – I reflected on what the Amazonian people would make of this Islamist madness. That is not to say that Amazonian society has sex equality of course: Amazonian women would need to resort to alternative forms of protest :) Yes to life-giving breasts – No to life-taking Islamism!!!

      • Jake says

        I agree, this is not the time to take things slowly. Women are being murdered! If shock is what is required to get the world’s attention, then shock them! The treatment of women under Islam is beyond deplorable and every available option must be used to bring it to the world’s attention.

        I am an American male, and if Amina had not bared herself, neither I nor millions of other Americans would even know she exists.

  6. corporal klinger says

    As a european, white male I will not try to tell women how to fight the fight against the disease of patriarchy. As in every fight, there are, I think, many different strategies and tactics that lead to victory. I’m not military although I use a bit of military language here. I use it, because from where I stand, no ethical minded person can deny that there is a war on women since humankind began to settle and to develop what we call civilisation. It is a war that today has a different face than it had in ancient times. The victims of this war in the western world are different of the victims in the rest of the misogynistic world, but not in their suffering, humiliation, being killed. What a beautiful, joyfull life on this planet this could be if misogyny, religions, ideologies, patriarchy and superstitions could be replaced by cooperation of man and women as equal human beings for the betterment of ourselves and humankind. On behalf of my mother, grand-mothers, aunts and myself I want to express my respect and admiration for all those women everywhere on the world who are fighting the good fight against hate, bigotry, sexism, rape culture and stupidity.

    Bravo! Ladies, your courage is inspiring

  7. Uday says

    i just wish women could protest in effective ways that did not include any form of nudity. i don’t want to see your breasts ok ladies? i dont even want to look at my own some days….how about grow up, make a statement but keep the shirts on so we’ll be taken seriously. i went to a protest not a burlesque show.

  8. Eristae says

    Why in the everloving fuck is the response to “A woman has been kidnapped and threatened with death for baring her breast” “Women shouldn’t bare their breasts.” Seriously, what the hell? Why is this even coming up? Even if one believes that a woman baring her breasts is wrong (*sigh*), it still shouldn’t come up when the response is kidnapping and death threats. Assuming it was wrong (*sigh*) it’s like saying, “John jaywalked and was subsequently kidnapped and threatened with death. Jaywalking is wrong and against the law.” WTF WTF WTF?

  9. Uday says

    i never said it was wrong to expose breasts, im saying their plans of protest to get the girl released by showing their breasts is a bit of a ridiculous strategy. Again, never said wrong to show breasts, it;s just im sick of every protest including baring of breasts instead of making a clear plan and a more refined statement/

    • freemage says

      Uday: In this case, the breast-baring serves a very direct point. The victim here was abducted for having the temerity to perform this very action. By repeating the action, these women are telling the oppressors that they will not be cowed, or intimidated. They are brave and heroic, and deserve respect.

  10. Uday says

    do you honestly think kidnappers will give a flying shit if a bunch of women show their breasts? come on. it’ll make no difference to them….getting her released would take actual action, not images of your breasts ladies. thinking posting your images will make any difference is highly immature.

  11. Eristae says

    i never said it was wrong to expose breasts, im saying their plans of protest to get the girl released by showing their breasts is a bit of a ridiculous strategy. Again, never said wrong to show breasts, it;s just im sick of every protest including baring of breasts instead of making a clear plan and a more refined statement/

    Why do you think that the appropriate time to express your opinion on whether or not women should express their protest via breast baring is when a woman has been kidnapped and threatened with death for doing so?

    do you honestly think kidnappers will give a flying shit if a bunch of women show their breasts? come on. it’ll make no difference to them….getting her released would take actual action, not images of your breasts ladies. thinking posting your images will make any difference is highly immature.

    And you think that scolding women for their method of protest is going to be more effective at getting released Amina than breast baring is?

  12. Uday says

    and this is exactly why ive never gotten along with other women. yes youll be showing the captors that their actions will not effect you….but how is all of your methods supposed to get this girl freed??? and this is as good a time as ever to express how i feel about the over use of exposing breasts as a sad form of protest. im so sorry that you despise anyone who does not share your opinion, however it’s not just me who feels this way, i just am the one who brought it up.

  13. Uday says

    p.s showing your breasts is not brave….strippers do it every night and they are not in any way brave…more just pathetic

      • Mirko says

        is not only Brave Sara she prove to the world she dont have fear to tell what she want tell,like “my body is only mine and i do what i want with it”

  14. Uday says

    in closing….what the woman did who was kidnapped was a statement for her culture and kudos to her….but the actions you women are taking to aid the situation is not effective nor will it ever be. it just looks like girls gone wild protest edition and will not aid her in any way shape or form.

    • Eristae says

      In closing, you still haven’t even attempted to show that your “actions” are more effective at freeing Amina than showing one’s breasts; in fact, you haven’t even shown that your actions are aimed at freeing Amina. You seem more interested in policing women’s bodies than freeing women are oppressed. Congratulations.

    • AstroBio says

      It sounds like you have bought into the very same “breast as objects for men” paradigm that makes “girls gone wild” possible. The whole point is that our breasts belong to us and have nothing to do with the skewed morality that endangers Amina and other free thinking women like her. In western culture, the objectification is still there, just open and profitable.
      My body belongs to me and is not the source of anyone’s honor.

  15. Eristae says

    and this is exactly why ive never gotten along with other women. yes youll be showing the captors that their actions will not effect you….but how is all of your methods supposed to get this girl freed??? and this is as good a time as ever to express how i feel about the over use of exposing breasts as a sad form of protest. im so sorry that you despise anyone who does not share your opinion, however it’s not just me who feels this way, i just am the one who brought it up.

    I repeat: How is scolding women supposed to get this girl free in a manner that is more effective than baring one’s breasts? You want to talk about how the extremists don’t care if women bare their breasts? Well, they’d approve of the fact that your response to this is “She shouldn’t have bared her breasts.” After all, they agree.

    And I don’t care if you agree or not. I care that you think scolding women is more important than addressing the fact that this woman was kidnapped and threatened with death.

    p.s showing your breasts is not brave….strippers do it every night and they are not in any way brave…more just pathetic

    This woman was kidnapped and threatened with death for baring her breasts, and you want to say her actions weren’t brave? When was the last time you did something that involved risking yourself that way?

  16. Shmeetes says

    I’m loving the discussion here. It’s funny how we all profess to be so tolerant and open minded when clearly on a basic level we are all just the same – we rip into one another the moment our views are challenged.

    If you’re a supporter of Amina – you’re a FemNazi . If you’re an opposer – you’re a female misogynist or an Islamist. Is there no ground in between the two?

    We’re all such angry angry angry people! There’s no black or white answer, if you’re really open minded then step back for a second and stop thinking you are 100% correct all the time! This pretentious assumption of self-righteousness is what’s eating up the world. People can’t have a proper discussion without having some ridiculous name or accusation thrown at them. Just calm down.

    • Eristae says

      . . . I am not interested in being “tolerant and open minded” towards someone who “opposes” a woman who was kidnapped and threatened with death for taking and posting naked pictures of her own body.

    • Sara says

      Thank you for your condescending advice. However you are still missing the point; if you would deign to read and absorb what we are saying you may realise why we are getting upset.
      The point is to reconsider one’s ingrained attitudes towards the female body. Our bodies are our own; and yet we have had centuries of patriarchy superimpose alien, unnatural values onto them.
      Baring breasts is only considered to be an overtly sexual thing to do because breasts have been taken from us and made the property of the male gaze, for the viewing pleasure of men. There is nothing shameful about showing our breasts, especially not to make a political point, and by doing so we are reclaiming our bodies as tools of ours to be used as we wish, not passive and submissive objects to be viewed by men.
      Yes, I am a tolerant, open-minded person. I accept others’ religious beliefs, I am not sexist or racist, I fully support equality for all human beings. However what I will NEVER tolerate is when others’ beliefs perpetuate a damaging and oppressive status quo, such as religious people who condemn gays or people who continue to see women as hypersexualised beings.
      If we tolerate such attitudes they will never change, and so yes, I am intolerant of attitudes that I see as damaging.

      • Shmeetes says

        So showing them our breasts will stop them from treating us like hypersexualised beings because……? Please enlighten me oh humble, wise one for I’m incapable of understanding :-(

        Has it stopped men from sexualising women in developed parts of the world despite all the freedom women have received there? Just walking into a magazine store and taking a look at the covers will prove to you that even after all our efforts, we are still objects of desire and gaze. But perhaps that is acceptable, because those women are objects by choice? I’ll let you answer that question since you said I’ve missed the point. Surely, you know best!

        Oh and I mustn’t forget my manners. You said Thank You. In response: You’re Welcome! :-)

        • Sara says

          If you think that the battle of women against gender discrimination is over in the Western world then you are sorely mistaken. If you think that women in Western culture have all the opportunities men do, you are deluded. If you think that women, even in the most civilised and developed of societies are still not mainly judged for their ornamental value, you are wrong. And if you think that any of this is normal, and is not merely the result of societal conditioning, then you too have been successfully indoctrinated by the patriarchy that we are talking about.

          In Africa, there are many tribes who go bare-breasted. The men don’t have erections all day long. Where I live in Germany, mixed-sex saunas are full of attractive young women with pert breasts, but because the young men there are accustomed to seeing breasts, it doesn’t drive them crazy; they don’t even notice. The mystification surrounding breasts is an artifice. Men were once aroused by the sight of an ankle. We are conditioned to see breasts and think sex, so much so that when women breastfeed in public people are actually disturbed because they are used to only seeing breasts in a sexual context. This is a perversion – that a mother cannot breastfeed her child because the real purpose of her mammary glands has been appropriated by the male gaze. It is all a part of the larger pattern of women and their being trivialised, infantilised, reduced to mere ornaments. Breasts are amazing – they nourish a child in infancy, but they are reduced to something as banal and trivial as visual wank-fodder for horny men.

          I don’t hate men for all this at all. I hate the patriarchy. I hate the way that it has become an ingrained concept that breasts mean sex. I hate the way that because I am a woman it feels unusual when I make a joke and people laugh. I hate watching films and finding that all the female characters are beautiful and dull, whilst all the male characters are fascinating and unique. I hate all these assumptions and I believe we must challenge them. I’m sorry if I offended you in my last statement, but if you cannot see that our attitude to certain parts of the female body is learned and not instinctive, then you can come some way to seeing why using our naked bodies to protest is anything but sexual

          • Shmeetes says

            You know what, that was a very educating post Sara. It actually made me go and research this matter and I found a page which scientifically reinforces many of the things you wrote above (not sure if you’ve read it), but I its a good thing to share: http://www.007b.com/nipple_stimulation_sexual.php

            I agree with everything you’ve written, cultural conditioning is everywhere. And no, ofcourse the West isn’t a model for female freedom at all, and that’s what I meant. I understand where you’re coming from, and believe others will too if we could educate them about it in the same way you nicely explained it to me. I’m sure there are arguments for and against this matter, but Maryam is right, this isn’t a hypothetical/ideological discussion but a question of someone’s life so I won’t interfere with what’s more important anymore.

            But thank you. ‘Twas a good post! :-)

        • Sara says

          Somehow I can’t reply to your later comment, so I’ll reply here. The article you linked to is a very interesting read and confirms many things I have long suspected! We should resist cultural conditioning and make up our own minds about what is sexy and what isn’t, and what is right and what isn’t. I’m really glad that you considered my point of view. Try not to be upset by all the angry people on here, most are just very frustrated with the status quo and how hard it seems to be to change it. But I’m sure that we can do it, if we just make sure we don’t shut up and go away, and if we keep challenging myths and erroneous beliefs!
          Anyway, it was good to debate and discuss with you – sending good vibes your way :)

  17. Uday says

    eristae apparently you missed where i said that what amina did, in her culture, was brave! i never said it wasn’t….i just said if you live in a culture outside of hers that there are better ways to aid in her rescue. someone was kidnapped, the answer is going through the proper channels to try and find her and release her. and p.s who in their right mind thinks her captors are reading all this online and saying oh wow more people bared their breasts, guess we should let her go. really? come on now. im not a female mysogynist by the way, im all for equal rights and not being objects for men….but im also about going about issues such as these in a rational way. and as for my problems with breasts, i dont have a problem with them, i just would like to be a part of a protest or rally and not have to see yours.

    • Eristae says

      1) Women baring their breasts is not stopping you from doing anything. Wanna go to a protest? Wanna go to a rally? Go forth. The only thing stopping you from going is, well, you, if you choose to do something else (like scold women) rather than go do your own thing.

      2) If you don’t want to see women’s breasts, don’t look. Or is there something about women’s bare breasts that are such that you feel that even having them around on the internet is somehow unacceptable?

      3) What “proper channels?” I don’t think there are “proper channels” for getting Amina freed.

      4) I don’t think that her captors are going to read what you said, either, and be convinced to let Amina go, but heaven knows that hasn’t stopped you.

      5) What exactly do you think we could be saying that would get them to let her go?

      6) If you think that anyone believes that Amina’s captors are going to look at this blog and say, “Oh, we see the light and shall abandon misogyny!” then you have no idea what any of this is about. It’s about showing solidarity, about showing the misogynists and the rest of the world that our bodies are our own and that we will not allow misogynists to frighten us into doing their will. It’s even about showing you that your apparent distaste for women’s bare breasts (as was displayed when you made your view of strippers known) isn’t some kind of mandate on what women can do with their bodies. How you feel about these women’s bodies isn’t the issue. How these women own their bodies is.

    • Eristae says

      Oh, and PS:

      Maryam Namazie has done more for women’s rights in the middle east than you and I have done combined. I don’t think either of us could possibly have the right to criticism her on the basis of not doing enough, whatever you feel about this particular protest.

  18. Devon says

    Note: We have the power at anytime to help these women and stop these backwards cultures from continuing to poison the planet. We don’t act because of politics. Culture, religion, beliefs, tradition, pride….all of these things are irrelevant in the modern world when they overwrite a person’s personal freedom. The individual is more important then faith. The physical is more important then the meta physical.

    Stop the nonsense, it’s 2013.

  19. Whitney says

    It makes me so sad that an article about a woman who disappeared making a statement for herself and oppressed women everywhere has dissolved into arguments almost immediately.

    THIS is why our movement goes no where.

    • Shmeetes says

      All of the above is a different line of argument all together from the kidnapping and threatening of Amina. Please separate the two things when you’re arguing – one is about personal preference. The other is a question of humanity and compassion.

      Just because someone doesn’t support the IDEA of protesting with their breasts, it does NOT mean they want Amina dead or hurt or suppressed in any way. We have our preference, she has hers. We all have the right to live a safe and free life. Show me where I need to sign to demand her immediate release and security – I will sign it. As will Uday, I’m sure. Show me where I can defend her, whether it be verbally, with writing or with my presence. I will be there to show my solidarity.

      I will not, however, take off my clothes :-P Or encourage others to do so, since I only believe in endorsing something I would be willing to do myself. Otherwise I’m 100% in favour of this movement.

      • says

        Just because someone doesn’t support the IDEA of protesting with their breasts, it does NOT mean they want Amina dead or hurt or suppressed in any way.

        Sure as hell feels like that when literally all you do is condescend, whine and complain at everyone who supports this form of protest by claiming that it won’t work and there are better things to do.

        Change can only happen if new ideas are introduced slowly and maintaining respectful attitudes towards those we are fighting against, and by keeping with the standards of discourse expected in this day and age.

        It feels even more like that when you say shit like this that ignores, oh, say, the US’ Civil Rights Movement for blacks. The labor movement also has a history of not “keeping with the standards of discourse expected”.

        And when you have to take the action out of context and re-frame it in a different context (ie, ignore why Amina herself did this and go on about how toplessness is viewed within Western framing, as if the solidarity actions are somehow independent of Amina’s — and never mind of course that FEMEN has engaged in topless protest in Europe as well) to make your point about why you don’t like it…well, then it looks like you’re just grasping at straws trying to put your puritanical and regressive taboo on breasts above your alleged desire for equal rights.

        • says

          Of course you may not want Amina dead but let’s face it. When there is a powerful movement that wants her dead (and has killed many before her), when she has disappeared, when she can no longer communicate with her friends and FEMEN, when we are campaigning to save her life and are concerned about her safety, your condemning topless activism aids and abets those who want to silence her. We are not having a hypothetical debate. We are fighting for someone’s life and the right to do as one wants without threat of death. At this very time, your opposition to her manner of opposing misogyny does not do any favours for Amina or those trying to show solidarity. It helps those who are opposed to her. That is clear as daylight.

          I might hate Salman Rushdie’s book (I don’t) but if I go around criticising his book when he has a fatwa against him, then I am either utterly clueless to the realities of the world or agree with the Islamists and their “morality”…

          • Shmeetes says

            @Maryam: So you’re saying that if I don’t agree with a book, I cannot criticize it, because the author is in danger? :-O What an absurd take on freedom of expression!! More like “you are only free to say whatever we want to hear”. Well if that’s the kind of ideology you’re promoting Maryam then I’m frankly disappointed.

            @Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism: I don’t have to like showing my nipples to be secular. And just because I don’t, it doesn’t make me a puritan. That’s the dumbest logic I’ve heard in quite some time. It also echoes a kind of totalitarian mentality, that if you’re not entirely with us, you must be with them. Also, please look up “secular” and “puritan” in the dictionary before accusing someone of being something they’re not.

            I’ve signed Amina’s petition, shared the links on my blog. I wish I could do something on the FEMEN facebook page but cannot because I don’t want to take a topless photograph of myself. But I could make a written post – since I have the freedom to not show my breasts, right? :-) I’ll do that right away.

            On April 4 I will make sure I demand for Amina’s freedom anywhere I can. This argument started off with me giving a 5 line reason for why I don’t like FEMEN’s style of activism but the kind of personal attack on my values that followed just shows how intolerant we still are as a species overall.

  20. AdamtheKiwi says

    Free Anima!

    I don’t know how I can contribute (baring my hairy chest isn’t going to send much of a message to those ignorant fucks) but I will if I can, even if all that contribution can be is simply to (continue to) treat women as equals.

  21. corporal klinger says

    Maybe this is another way to defend Amina. Flood the government responsibles, police, DA’s, etc. with hand written letters, post-cards, caricatures and so on – sacks full of cards and letters and drawings and books have a real physical weight, they stand in the way, they have to be handled and are perhaps less easy to dismiss as emails and online petitions. ( in no way is this meant as saying your protest is useless, please take it as just another idea how to help Amina.)

    Ladies, your courage is inspiring!

  22. corporal klinger says

    Maryam, as you surely know, France has a lot of influence in Tunesia – what if we not only flood the tunesian authorities with sacks full of post but the Elysée and president Hollande, too ? I have no clue how to organize something like that on a large scale. I talk to everybody I know to sign the petition and hope they will talk to other people too. Maybe you and the other Ftb bloggers can make a call to write personally to those in charge. I like to think that sacks full of hand written letters are more personal and they literally stand in the way, have a real physical weight.

    Ladies, your courage sets an example! Bravas!

  23. melou says

    by the way why u always focus on the islamic world?didn’t u see what happened in italy when femen activists posed nude in vatican and those who protested against silvio berlusconi and how police treated them?I think u have to support italian women too against the terrorism of the vatican and catholic church

    • alanflynn says

      No one is saying that intolerance is unique to Islam, but did any of those women receive a death threat? It seems to me that any woman – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Malala Yousafzai and now Amina – who offends Islamist sensibilities puts their life at risk. Murder was formerly a common tactic with Christianity also (they used to burn people) until it was reigned in by the state following the rise of reason and secularism. This now needs to happen in the Islamic world so that religion becomes a private matter and surrenders its authority to govern people’s lives. Freethinkers will of course continue to oppose the sexism and multifarious wrongdoing of the Catholic Church.

      • melou says

        well,u are supporting muslim women to show their breasts and that’s good! but do u khnow that in Castellammare di Stabia a coastal town in southern italy women don’t have the right to wear mini-skirts and low hung jeans in streets and public places and Offenders face fines of 500 euros and no body of feminists around the world talk about that,why not supporting italian women that they can show their legs in public!!

  24. Glen Carrigan says

    Your blog is always excellent and informative. It has given me the courage and the inspiration to write about many things such as when I wrote Feminist or pacifist; violence against women and responsibility http://wp.me/p2yYDJ-8b
    I admire you and your work greatly and I hope you continue to do all the good you do now in future. I hope to be such a positive influence in the world in future as you are today. Thanks for keeping us aware of these issues from a credible and passionate source.

  25. Gary says

    In stripping off and displaying your private parts you demean yourself and do your cause no good. Can these topless women not find an intelligent way to promote their cause? This is just obscene and stupid.

    • Sara says

      What is it exactly that you find so obscene about breasts, Gary? They are just a part of the human body. The obscenity of them is only in your mind.

      • Gary says

        I have not said that breasts or any other part of a person’s body is obscene. Nudity, pornography and fornication are obscene. Those topless women are plain stupid. It would be good for themselves if they took a chance to think before displaying what should be covered.

        • GFL says

          No, you and your conflation of nudity with fornication and pornography are plain stupid. You don’t get to decide what others should cover or uncover – people have a right to their own bodies and what they do with them. Moreover, what you call fornication often happens between consenting adults – there is nothing wrong with that. You can shove your primitive attitudes where they belong.

  26. Pragashnie says

    Here in South Africa, the natives never covered their breasts, because it was a symbol of life. native men never saw breasts as sexual but rather used for nurturing the babies………..but of course that has changed with time and South Africans are now ‘modernised’………….Sad!

Trackbacks

  1. […] It’s 4th April- The day to defend Amina and many others like her who continue to suffer under Islamic Sharia law. There are protests and voices of support coming in from all around the world. Writer and filmmaker Caroline Fourest, one of the signatories calling for anInternational Day to Defend Amina has written about Amina in French here. You can sign the petition to Tunisian government here, which has now over 107,000 signatures. Let’s Breast Them! […]

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