Ever since women’s liberation there have been various women empowerment movements. One movement that really stands out is FEMEN, mostly because they are radical in every way. FEMEN first started out in 2008 in Ukraine. They adopted the slogan Our God is women, our mission is to protect, our weapons our bare breasts. This organization is infamous for their topless protest rallies against all forms of sexism and gender inequality.
The movement was founded by Anna Hutsol after she noticed that there was a lack of women activist in society. The goal of FEMEN organization was initially to start a women’s uprising in Ukraine. Since its establishment in 2008 it has branched out to other parts of the world including Belarus, India, Spain, Italy and most recently France.
I previously mentioned that FEMEN is a very radical movement. FEMEN is a very hands-on in your face organization that is internationally known for their drastic protests. This movement fights against the patriarchal system and challenges the conventional roles of women. Furthermore, they protest against discrimination of the LGBT community and against religious institutions that implement gender conventions and belief systems.
They justify their radical often violent behavior during the protest and demonstrations as necessary to bring about change. They believe that passive actions such as peaceful protests will not inspire the change that is essential in our society. They aim to be the biggest and most influential feminist movement in Europe. They serve to bind women and protect their rights.
FEMEN is accusing the government of inaction against widespread prostitution in Ukraine. They are also rising up against sex tourists who visit Ukraine purely to engage in the sex industry. Despite FEMEN’s success in raising awareness of gender inequality and the increasing sex tourism in the Ukraine, they still have various stumble blocks to overcome. They are also subjected to a lot of criticism. Some believe that their controversial means of protest gives feminism a negative connotation. The argument is that they behave like prostitutes while protesting against it. FEMEN retaliated by stating that they are not a feminist movement, but that they use eroticism in their approach. This, however, does limit the extent of their support.
I personally support this movement because I believe that a drastic change is necessary. Gender conventions are continually reinforced which supports patriarchy. Patriarchy is not only harmful to women, but also to men as they are always expected to act in a certain way. Radical movements are needed to bring about change.