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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Femen
Femen is a very good account of an impressive and imaginative feminist movement. The Ukrainian women who started the group appear to be very motivated and well educated and rational. I admire them! The only awkward thing in the book is that the author, Ms Alterman, argues against some of the basic beliefs of Femen, most of all their very militant atheism and...
Published 1 month ago by Per Gahrton

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3.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation?
Femen, a feminist group founded by young Ukrainian women, gained a reputation for topless demonstrations with supposedly inflammatory messages written on their bodies. This book discusses the founding of the group, takes a look at the background of the four key members and follows the movement up to roughly present day.
I was vaguely aware of the group and had a few...
Published 5 days ago by JennyD


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3.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation?, 21 July 2014
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JennyD (Manchester, Uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Femen (Paperback)
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Femen, a feminist group founded by young Ukrainian women, gained a reputation for topless demonstrations with supposedly inflammatory messages written on their bodies. This book discusses the founding of the group, takes a look at the background of the four key members and follows the movement up to roughly present day.
I was vaguely aware of the group and had a few questions. Firstly, I wanted to know why it was that it would appear only 'pretty' thin women went topless. How is this feminism/equality, if only a very specific type of women is allowed to symbolically 'free' themselves from patriarchy? A heavier activist does feature in this book but it is noted her body 'doesn't really fit the Femen image'. There are repeated references to how beautiful/pretty the activists are. Why? How does this add to the group's message? This is all the more confusing as at one point Femen bemoan the lack of female solidarity. Women of all shapes & sizes would surely be the way to go. That said, I don't believe standing topless with writing on your chest/stomach will change anything in the world anyway.
The group state that they want people to see 'our message,not our tits' but a) this is naive and b) at odds to their earlier explanation of being topless where they explain they are reclaiming their bodies from patriarchy, from the society that has been created. I can get behind this explanation in principal but at the end of the day, in Western Europe at least, young women going topless creates amusement and puzzlement, nothing more. Perhaps I am just too cynical.
I do admire the fact that the group addresses the controversial issue of their rumoured male leader, however even here the explanation is not satisfactory. Apparently a film about them was edited in such a way as to misrepresent the facts. OK. But why did one of the four members (Inna) then write a Guardian column condemning the guy & admitted he ended up running Femen? Confusing. I do admire the young women for having the drive & determination to form a group, stage protests however I think their message doesn't translate to Western Europe very well. Perhaps such demonstrations are effective in other areas of the world; I simply do not know.
The book ends on a depressing note. Mentioning defections, Femen groups in other countries breaking away....the very problem with Femen I think is that it simply does not connect to most of the worlds women, an issue which is hinted at when the group moves to France. Unlike Pussy Riot (who do receive a mention) Femen seem unable to grab the worlds attention & keep it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Femen, 14 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Femen (Paperback)
Femen is a very good account of an impressive and imaginative feminist movement. The Ukrainian women who started the group appear to be very motivated and well educated and rational. I admire them! The only awkward thing in the book is that the author, Ms Alterman, argues against some of the basic beliefs of Femen, most of all their very militant atheism and anti-cleracalism. I find just that one of the most convincing aspects of Femen, that they dare to criticize and ridicule the manifestations of male religious institutions, both Christian and Muslim. Altermans reservations give me the impression that she is keen to take a distance on an item that may be very sensitive in parts of the world, but in a book that technically is presented as the words of the Femen activists themselves (although it is clear they have a ghost writer, Ms Alterman) it as a funny breach of logic when the ghost argues against the main actors. But this is a detail that does not seriously hurt the main story, which is fascinating and gives hope for the future.
It is a pity that Femen had to move to Paris before the latest upheavals in Ukraine. As has been shown in Egypt and other countries, which in this Millennium have experienced youth revolts and even revolutions, there is an obvious risk that events go wrong and turn into conventional male struggles of power, if there are no strong and well organised feminist movements (the presence of lots of individual women is not enough).. Ukraine without Femen may go down the same road, unfortunately.
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Femen
Femen by Galia Ackerman (Paperback - 18 April 2014)
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