||It has been suggested that Anna Hutsol be merged into this article or section. (Discuss) Proposed since March 2012.|
|International affiliation||Cooperation with other international women’s organizations|
|Politics of Ukraine
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 formed the backbone of the movement when it was formed in 2008. 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. 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 October 2012 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.
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.
The movement was founded in 2008 by Anna Hutsol (born 1984, 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.” Initially Femen gained attention by demonstrating while dressed in underwear: however, in August 2009 Oksana Shachko bared her breasts at a protest in Kiev. Since then Femen have regularly protested ‘topless’, and 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. While most of the protests have been confined to going ‘topless’, in October 2010 Shachko exposed her buttocks outside a locked toilet in a demonstration to protest about the lack of public toilets in Kiev;and four of the group members staged a similar protest in Kiev in February 2011.
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. FEMEN has protested against what they argue are moves being made by the Ukrainian government to legalize prostitution during the EURO 2012 championships. The group asked UEFA and the Ukrainian government to create a social program devoted to the problem ofsex tourism and prostitution in Ukraine; to inform football fans that prostitution is illegal in Ukraine; and to take additional steps to fight against prostitution and sex tourism.
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”. Some parents of FEMEN activists have wondered if they were addicted to drugs. In Ukraine the FEMEN activists have been labeled (in 2010) “girls Tymoshenko” and/or “Putin‘s agents[relevant? – discuss]; it must be noted that FEMEN has demonstrated against Putin and the organization never did sympathize with Tymoshenko. 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, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
- ^ a b c d e Femen wants to move from public exposure to political power, Kyiv Post (April 28, 2010)
- ^ a b c d e f Feminine Femen targets ‘sexpats’, Kyiv Post (May 22, 2009)
- ^ a b c d FEMEN, Organisations MySpace page
- ^ a b Keywords:FEMEN, Photo service of UNIAN
- ^ High voter turnout in snow, cold shows triumph of democracy, Kyiv Post (January 21, 2010)
- ^ a b Ukraine protest over NZ ‘win a wife’ competition prize, BBC news (2 March 2011)
- ^ Ukraine feminists protest ‘Win a Wife’ competition, Khaleej Times (1 March 2011)
- ^ a b (Ukrainian) Ключові слова:FEMEN, Photo service of UNIAN
- ^ (Ukrainian) Активістка жіночого руху б’є тортом Олеся Бузину (фото), UNIAN (23 March 2009)
- ^ a b c d e f g h i (Ukrainian) Femen: “Ми даємо чиновникам і політикам, проср…тися”, Табло ID (September 20, 2010)
- ^ a b c d Topless protesters gain fame in Ukraine, Associated Press (November 19, 2010)
- ^ a b c Ukraine’s topless group widens political role, Reuters (November 15, 2010)
- ^ Events by themes:Protest action of FEMEN in Odessa, Photo service of UNIAN (March 10, 2011)
- ^ (Ukrainian) Події за темами:У Дніпропетровську відбулася акція активісток FEMEN з нагоди Міжнародного дня обіймів, Photo service of UNIAN
- ^ (Ukrainian) Події за темами:Активістки FEMEN провели в Запоріжжі акцію проти секс-туризму, Photo service of UNIAN (March 7, 2011)
- ^ Offbeat Ukrainian Feminist Group Fights Sexism And Authoritarianism, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (July 02, 2011)
- ^ “Ukraine is not a bordello”, Russia Today (December 14, 2009)
- ^ a b c d e ‘The Entire Ukraine Is a Brothel’, Spiegel Online (5 May 2011)
- ^ (Russian) Бюст героев, Kommersant (September 20, 2010)
- ^ a b c (Ukrainian) На FEMEN здiйснена рейдерська атака! Клятi москалi! Перший пост без цицьок, Ukrayinska Pravda (28 April 2011)
- ^ a b c (Russian) Зассанные кремлевские матрасы!, LiveJournal blog of FEMEN (28 April 2011)
- ^ Keywords: FEMEN, UNIAN
- ^ FEMEN takes its act to Paris, Kyiv Post (1 November 2011)
- ^ FEMEN participate in Berlusconi protests, Kyiv Post (2 November 2011)
- ^ Huffington Post: FEMEN, Ukrainian women’s rights group, protests Russian election, Kyiv Post (9 December 2011)
- ^ Ukraine topless activists raise SOS from Belarus, Kyiv Post (20 December 2011)
- ^ a b Naked Protesters Draw Attention at Moscow Polling Station, The Wall Street Journal (4 March 2012)
- ^ Turkey acts to better protect women from abuse, Kyiv Post (9 March 2012)
- ^ (Russian) На FEMENисток завели два уголовных дела за “обнаженку”, Информационно-аналитический центр “ЛІГА” (17 February 2012)
- ^ a b How they protest prostitution in Ukraine, France 24 (August 28, 2009)
- ^ (French) Femen Les féministes venues du froid, Paris Match (February 18, 2012)
- ^ a b Ukrainian women activists protest against Saknieh execution, Euronews (November 4, 2010)
- ^  (February 28, 2011)
- ^ FEMEN initiates criminal responsibility for using sex industry services, Kyiv Post (May 22, 2009)
- ^ “Ukraine women go topless against UEFA, prostitution”. 3 November 2011.
- ^ “Euro 2012 Without Prostitution: Femen Activists Go Topless Against UEFA”. 2 December 2011.
- ^ (Russian) Полуголые активистки прошлись по Москве, L!FE NEWS (27 April 2011)
- ^ The nude radicals: feminism Ukrainian style, The Guardian (April 15, 2011)
- ^ (Ukrainian) Акції FEMEN — наслідок суспільної нечутливості?, Den (July 22, 2011)
- ^ FEMEN Protests Topless Against Vladimir Putin And Gazprom (PHOTOS, WARNING: NSFW), The Huffington Post (14 February 2012)
- ^ International Women’s Issues: Yulia Tymoshenko and FEMEN: Women, Appearance, and Politics in Ukraine by Mary Anne Limoncelli, Persephone Magazine (13 October 2011)
- ^ FEMEN coverage on Kyiv Post, Kyiv Post (May 22, 2009)
- ^ Exclusive Interview with FEMEN, (December 22, 2010)
- ^ Ukraine’s topless protesters gain fame
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