Some of you may have heard about the group Femen, that consists of young women who stage demonstrations while going topless with messages painted on their bodies and doing other things aimed at drawing a lot of media attention for the causes they support. They have announced that they are bringing their campaign to the US by setting up an office here to train and coordinate activities. [Warning: Link has a photo of a topless Femen member.]
The group originally formed in
the Ukraine in 2008 to protest sex tourism and prostitution but has since broadened its agenda and actions. In an interview, a spokesperson Inna Shevchenko discussed their plans for the US.
I can’t name enemies, as it’s strategic information that we don’t share. But I can assure you sure that once American women are trained and ready to act as Femen, every place of gender injustice, every representative of patriarchal culture, will be a target of Femen USA.
We will not leave religious institutions in peace, with their lobbying for anti-women policies. And Republican politicians will not walk the streets without worry [if they] lobby for anti-women laws. Femen is a special troop of reaction and punishment.
Everyone has to know what our mission is, what Femen’s goal is. We exist as a radical nonviolent women’s group of street activists acting with the goal of pointing to problems, to force society to recognize and react to them. To recognize a problem is the first step in solving it. Femen is taking off the masks of those who wear them. We show gender injustice, we catch missioners of patriarchy.
Femen’s tactic is a dramaturgy of gender reality. Femen’s idea is transforming the sexist point of view of naked a woman’s body; we show it not as weak and smiley, but aggressive and powerful.
Shevchenko’s views on religion are interesting.
Well, my personal emotions regarding religion are expressed in a very radical way sometimes. And I do not regret it and will repeat it again and again. I can’t tolerate such an intolerant thing as religion. I don’t want to respect my enemies, I want to fight them. You call this a “totalitarian instinct.” I wouldn’t. I named evil as evil. I said something bad is bad.
We can’t clean up the world from religion completely and I wouldn’t suggest banning it. But I call to give religion the small place [in society] that it deserves: as fantasy, literature, etc. But not as the only truth and law. As it’s still that way for billions around the world.
Religion is not a personal issue anymore, it has become political. It doesn’t exist only to provide moral support anymore, but to replace constitutions and supplant human rights with [religious] tradition.
Religion is oppression and we are going to fight it with whatever “instincts” necessary.
America has a strong streak of religious Puritanism. How those people react to the in-your-face tactics of Femen will be interesting to observe.