Femen Paperback – 18 Apr 2014
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"Femen and Everyday Sexism are two breakthrough movements to emerge in recent times, and they bring their own distinct ′manifestos′ in book form. Both confirm that feminism is no longer a dirty word among twentysomethings but also that the ideology manifests itself differently from their campaigning Second Wave predecessors."
"With Femen, we are dealing with something new ... Its activists are charting a new route for public discourse about women and religion, and making it an unabashedly universal discourse, venturing into realms where they may be hated, and they may yet pay a high price for this. But that they have gotten people talking, even shouting and crying, is undeniable, and it is good; only through debate and discussion, sometimes painful, often unsettling, will we progress."
"Femen s aims are straightforward, broad and radical. A war on patriarchy on three fronts, calling for an end to all religions, dictatorship and the sex industry."
"Part manifesto part biography this is Ukranian protest group FEMEN in their own words. Currently exiles in France, the four key members outline their objectives and sextremist tactics. A timely look at their ′non–violent but highly aggressive′ topless brand of feminist activism."
"This account will inspire activists and inform scholars for generations."
About the Author
Femen is a feminist protest group which was founded in Ukraine in 2008 by Anna Hutso, Oksana Shachko, Alexandra Shevchenko and Inna Shevchenko, who are among its key members. They have attracted worldwide attention for a series of high–profile protests at key international events and currently live in exile in France.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
This book tells their story from their unsubtle `manifesto', to their life stories, and the history of their actions. And despite the way they have been dismissed publicly in the media, their actions have been criminalised, they have been personally attacked by shady `secret police' and now forced to claim political asylum in France - all of which are markers of the extent to which they have made an impact on the world political stage.
Not everyone either understands or agrees with their use of the naked female body as a political instrument but Femen are themselves aware of the dissention and show their own discussions and arguments about `sextremism' - these women might be young but they're not uneducated, unthinking or unaware of the potential contradictions in the way they appear.
This book gives a very good account of how this particular brand of extreme feminism cannot be untangled from the place from which it has been born: Ukraine is still deeply patriarchal and under the control of the church, women are regarded as `on the shelf' if they're not safely married by the age of 20, and feminism simply didn't exist. One of the most shocking facts I learned is that it's not just that people there are unable to buy books like those of de Beauvoir, Millet, Greer etc. which have charted the history of the western feminist movements, but that they don't even know they exist.
Inna, the leader of Femen, is still only 22 - the movement may have fallen apart for various reasons but there's no question that the struggle will continue.
The book traces their origins from an Eastern European feminist protest group - founded in Ukraine in 2008 and now they seem to be mainly situated in France as well as some south American nations as well as having other affiliates in other countries. They advocate public actions and protests - through the use of their bodies and shock imagery - they call people's attention to their voice to stand for freedom, justice and women's rights. Since their origins their scope has widened to include, themes of poverty, religious institutions and dictatorships plus other topics of concern. Femen has a clear position on prostitution, as they say:
'there is nothing else but a domination of one gender through exploitation, force or lie. The ruling Patriarchy wants to legalise prostitution as a way to finally win the gender fight and make society accept women as sex-waitresses for the hungry clients that are men'.
Their narrative tells their story, from their 'humble' origins in a small Ukrainian town to their current lives in France. We learn about what they did and why they did it, how they were treated by former Communist states, and how they survived. This book is not a dry treatment of their inception and struggle; it shows us their game plan for their brand of active protest. They are a small group of devoted activists who say they really want to make a difference. However,there have been detractors notably such as Ms Tilly Grove who says in her commentary, in the Huffington Post, that
'UK Feminism Doesn't Need Femen's Imperialism'. A former member, from Tunisia, Amina Tyler left the group in protest citing what she saw 'a lack of financial transparency in the organization'.
Like them or dislike them, it appears that FEMEN will not be ignored.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a really good book, detailing the struggles of the feminist protest group: 'femen'. I really enjoyed the back story of the women, the social context of their protests,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Turner
An unwanted insight into the Ukranian feminist group Femen, I didn't realise, from the brief media snippets I've seen of the group, just how image-obsessed they are. Read morePublished 8 months ago by writeallthereviews
This book is very much a combination of the personal and the political. After outlining Femen's manifesto. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Stealth Reviewer
I was interested to read more about FEMEN as I have heard about them due to their topless protests but not really looked into what they stood for - apart from a vague notion it was... Read morePublished 14 months ago by P. Millar
For a book detailing the aims and objectives of one of the most exciting political groups in the Northern hemisphere, the Femen book is surprisingly dry. Read morePublished 15 months ago by J. Pappenheim
This is not entirely light, fun reading, but it is interesting. If you’re looking for a guide to the activist lifestyle and want to know the kind of things that may happen, then... Read morePublished 15 months ago by G. Wake
My interest in this book was stimulated by seeing the attractive author, Galia Ackerman interviewed on the UK's Newsnight programme. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jago Wells
'Ukraine is not a brothel!' This was the first cry of rage uttered by Femen during Euro 2012.
Bare-breasted and crowned with flowers, perched on their high heels, Femen... Read more
Femen's aims win much approval from The Guardian newspaper, as one might expect, with their 'radical' agenda. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Charlotte
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