A video created by FEMEN entitled, FEMEN Solidarity Message to FEMEN Holland, caused quite a stir when it was placed on YouTube and then linked to various individual’s Facebook pages.
To some it came as a shock that people would be so upset to see this video because of the message and the aim, to show solidarity with sisters in protest against overconsumption and corporate greed. It was as if people forgot that there is such a thing as nonsexual nudity. After all, one can walk into any art museum to find examples. However, this video was flagged on YouTube as obscene. Since YouTube recognizes non-sexual nudity, the video was not taken down, simply marked as ‘age-restricted.’
The fact that viewers could be so disgusted and disturbed at the site of women’s breast that they would have to declare ‘The sky is falling!’ is a testament to how little this society has progressed. Some commenter’s on Facebook even went so far as to say that what they women were doing was not a valid form of protest. Surprising so, many of these commentators were also people who themselves were Occupiers or those who supported the Occupy movement. The irony being that there are some people who might think Occupiers sleeping outside for days ‘like animals, without taking baths,’ is barbaric behavior; as such comments have been heard on conservative talk radio and read on conservative blogs. For example: M. James Currier wrote an open letter entitled, ‘Letter: Occupiers need a bath’, where he said, ‘The occupiers’ barbaric behavior has changed the national political conversation from ‘the Democrats have no tea party’ to ‘look at those lazy Democrat occupiers.’ Despite these attitudes, many continue to sleep outside, without access to showers, because they believe in their cause. These women are no different. They are utilizing a form of protest that is common in their country because they too believe in their cause.
FEMEN (Фемен) is a Ukrainian protest group based in Kiev, founded in 2008. The organization became internationally known for organizing topless protests against sex tourists, international marriage agencies, sexism and other social, national and international ills. (FEMEN Holland was founded on 12.02.2011.)
The video message is as follows:
We want to express our solidarity with our sisters in Holland. We know this Millionaire Fair is full of unnecessary luxury. Toys for the boys. And women for decoration. The empty-headed spenders, who rather buy a new car, or a new fashion bag every day than spending some time of the day on a deeper thought. Even for once)
this international fair is a slap in the face of all ordinary people who suffer from the financial crisis. Millions of people are at the risk of losing everything in Europe, but here the filthy rich keep on partying. If nothing else outside their glamorous world exists.
But they are the ones who caused the international crisis in the first place. They are part of the international network of high finance. Bankers and investors. Speculators. Corrupt politicians, ‘Businessmen’. Mafia. They all work together in an world-wide, oppressive, financial system. And instead on investing their money in the future of the planet, they prefer to waste it here on useless extravaganza.
They are driven by greed. Destroyers of ordinary peoples live. Gambling with their money. Make them responsible for the debts when it goes wrong. Annexing their houses. Their land. Taking away their jobs. Stealing their future. Making them poor, so they can sit on golden toilets in diamond closets. And shit on the world.
We must stop this world-wide cult of ignorant selfishness. Of intellectual emptiness. Of material waste. Of cultural barbarism. Or it will become the end of civilization as we know it.
During the earlier weeks of OWS (Occupy Wall street), some girls were baring their breasts in order to attract attention to the movement. They definitely did attract attention, but the question was raised as to whether those watching went on to learn more about the movement and the present state of our world, or was the nudity something for them to capture on film, and point and stare at?
It is probably safe to assume the latter because this is America, after all, and people aren’t used to those sorts of antics, but it is also safe to assume that such exposure will eventually desensitize people and normalize the technique. After all, there was a time when it was considered obscene to have same sex couples hold hands in public but they would do it in pride marches. Changes are slow and painful but it requires people breaking the mold. For many women going topless (just as men do all the time) is seen as a way to reject notions of women as being dirty and needing to be covered.
Women taking radical steps in not unheard of. On October 31st, 2009, Code Pink organized a protest rally outside the White House to coincide with President and Mrs. Obama’s official Halloween party. As many of the guests were family members of military members, the Code Pink press release encouraged attendees to dress as ‘zombie soldiers.’ On August 13th, 2011, organizers held their first Slut Walk. As noted in the Washington Post, ‘In a feminist movement that is often fighting simply to hold ground, Slut Walks stand out as a reminder of feminism’s more grass-roots past and point to what the future could look like.’ The women of FEMEN are known for their scandalous tactics, much like the women of Code Pink and the organizers of Slut Walks, but they are the new face of feminism, women who are not afraid to speak their minds or show their bodies. They are women who are willing to break all the rules, all the social convention commonly adhered to in their societies and fight for what they believe is a just cause.