Osocio NL

Protest or porn?

Posted by Tom Megginson | 14-10-2010 11:17 | Category: Women's Issues

FEMEN (Фемен) is a womens movement in Ukraine, founded in 2008, “To develop leadership, intellectual and moral qualities of the young women in Ukraine” and “To build up the image of Ukraine, the country with great opportunities for women”.


But what they are better known for is their protest tactics. Over the past two years, FEMEN have protested issues as diverse as access to clean water, the safety of women on public transit, and of course free speech and the exploitation of women — all while going topless and wearing traditional flower wreaths.

Begun by (now) 27-year-old Anna Hutsol/Gutsol (depends on the transliteration), FEMEN has gained some 15,000 followers. They now have ambitions of running as a political party in Ukraine.


But the core group of women live communally, surviving on donations from fans and admirers. (Anna is the redhead.)

Of course, they have their detractors too. But Hutsol counters,“There are other female organisations out there that follow certain methods, but no one ever writes about them. Let people condemn us. But they should also realise that in condemning us they’re discussing Ukraine’s problems concerning prostitution and sex tourism.”

FEMEN’s more recent shenanigans, however, seem more about getting attention for themselves than a great cause. They’ve been seen peeing all over Kiev to protest the lack of public toilets, and weighing in on the Putin birthday calendar debate.

It’s all lots of mad fun to watch from the sidelines, but is it any better than PETA’s exploitation of the sexual power of women’s bodies just to get attention? Is it the new feminism, or is it a reinforcement of women as sex objects?


In their own words, they are just trying to be heard in a brutally sexist society: “Our traditional flower wreathes are our trademark as much as our tits. In Kiev, there are protests and political meetings every day. How do you stand out from the horde? Well, you use what you’ve got.”


So, it’s basically “Look at my boobs! Now let’s talk about bigger issues…”

What’s your take?

Video message from FEMEN, for those who speak Ukrainian, after the break.

Animal New York


Comments about Protest or porn?

I feel so ashamed for my country. Some whores are selling their pussies - such a free campaign “fuck me please”... and then we wonder, why our girls get such a label in foreign countries, no wonder!
so bad, sooooo bad

Posted by ukrainian girl | 10-12-2010 01:53

Comments about Protest or porn?

You don’t have to be ashamed, be proud of them instead. They are doing a great job for democracy, human rights and feminism. If all people shared their values the world would be a much better place!

Posted by Hockeyplayer | 9-03-2013 21:24

My comment


Your comment will not be visible until a moderator approves it.

Some rights reserved 2005-2013 Osocio/Houtlust.
Disclaimer. Terms of use. Privacy statement.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Support us

Do you like our blog? Support us with a donation.
We're non-commercial. We all make Osocio pro bono in our spare time and we can use some support.

image of a graduation cap

Recent in Academy

Branding a time-bound campaign, Forest & Bird did it.

It’s not new but it is not often used: branding for a time-bound campaign. The kind of branding used for temporary purpose. Forest & Bird did it recently for their Love Nature: Vote 2014 campaign. New Zealand’s largest independent conservation organisation wanted nature back on the political agenda. The future…
Read more

Can fundraising marketers recreate the #icebucketchallenge?

Yesterday, it finally happened. Somebody challenged me to the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. If your internet connection has been broken all summer, it’s this year’s big meme. You can read about it here. To be honest, I felt that the movement had passed its high-water mark when I saw…
Read more

About Osocio

Osocio is dedicated to social advertising and non-profit campaigns. It’s the place where marketing and activism collide. Formerly known as the Houtlust Blog, Osocio is the central online hub for advertisers, ad agencies, grassroots, activists, social entrepreneurs, and good Samaritans from around the globe.
Read more

(the about page is also available in Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese 汉语/漢語, Deutsch, Español, Français, Italiano, Nihongo 日本語, Ivrit עברית, Filipino, Polski, Português, Russian Русский язык, Slovenčina, Suomi, Svenska and Türkçe)