ByÂ Chirag Aidasani:
Feminism. It is a word which we commonly hear now days. The main agenda of feminism is the abolition of discriminatory laws and cultural practices against women and equality between the two genders, however even with the same agenda, feminist groups have different ways to express themselves. Some are liberal, some are moderate and some are radical. FEMEN is one such a radical feminist organization.
They are not shy to bare it all, literally. This group was established in the year of 2008 in the city of Kiev in Ukraine by Anna Hutsol to protest against the sex trade of Ukrainian Women. Initially their protests didn’t garner much attention in Ukraine, but that was to change a year after their formation as they organized their first Topless protest in Kiev which made headlines all over Ukraine. And this point forth, mostly all of their protests featured topless women which also became their trademark.
Their logo too symbolizes the same as it consists of two circles in the colours of Ukrainian flag, which apparently stand for female breasts. The reason for such unconventional methods of protesting according to the organization is to get heard as simple protests with marches and banners are blissfully ignored by both the public and the administration.
The future ambitions of the organization include being the biggest Feminist movement in the world and Femen has already made its mark in Western Europe and is spreading across the seas to various countries. Their main goal is women’s liberation, especially in Ukraine. They describe themselves as movement which is sextremist,Â serving to protect women’s rights, democracy watchdogs attacking patriarchy, in all its forms – the authorities, the Church, the sex industry.
They vociferously oppose the sex industry in Ukraine and have raised objections over the government’s decision to legalize prostitution in Ukraine. They also advocate the criminalization of prostitution all over the world. India too faced the ire of FEMEN after New Delhi issued a proclamation demanding the visas of women from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan in the age group of 15-40 be checked, citing reasons of curbing prostitution in the country. This move received widespread criticism from the target countries and FEMEN staged its characteristic topless protests while saying “Ukrainians are not prostitutes!”, “Delhi, close your brothels,” and “We demand apologies“.
They have also openly protested against the religious institutions and their oppressive stances on womanhood. They demanded for the right to abortion, as the Ukraine government passed a resolution which would prohibit any women from getting an abortion based on the lines of Christianity which condemns abortion. FEMEN activists also protested against the Sharia Law of Islam deeming it as being oppressing to women. They staged a topless protest at the 2012 London Olympics against the Sharia Law. They have also campaigned against the Patriarchal society which currently exists in most of the societies across the world and also demand equal rights for the LGBT community. They have received widespread attention over the years and are widely covered by the media both local and international. The reception of their protests is mixed, with some people deeming them as mere publicity stunts, and many others viewing them positively stating that their protests bring in a fresh new radical wave of Feminism.
Either way, this organization is not looking back and their ideas and style of demanding justice for women is spreading like wildfire across the world. All that can be said to them for now is more power to them.