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Taglist for Ukraine

Entries tagged with 'Ukraine' have also been tagged with:
Femen (4), Feminism (2), politics (1), Russia (1), sex (1), women (1), boycott (1), Amnesty International (1), Fukushima (1)

Ukrainian women’s movement boycotts Russian penises

Posted by Tom Megginson | 25-03-2014 20:45 | Category: Politics

“Don’t Give It to a Russian”

Surprisingly, this does not seem to be a FEMEN project. But it does have a Facebook Page and merchandise (below).

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Amnesty International arrest movie lovers for a signature

Posted by Marc van Gurp | 3-12-2013 21:30 | Category: Human rights

Amnesty International arrest movie lovers for a signature

This action was held recently in a Ukrainian cinema. It was a performance done by Amnesty International. Two moviegoers were arrested by Amnesty actors.
At least a questionable way for communicating an annual letter-writing marathon. Very shocking performance and would never be done in a Western European country.

Hat tip Huzzah Sarah.

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Don’t count Femen out yet: An analysis of the recent controversy

Posted by Tom Megginson | 5-09-2013 14:22 | Academy | Category: Grassroots

Via Femen International (Facebook)

Ever since I first heard of the movement in 2009, I think I’ve always been enthusiastic about Femen because they are so problematic.

The Ukrainian women’s group are anarcho-feminists who aggressively expose their bodies to the male gaze. Many of them (but not all) embody the beauty norms more familiar in porn and pop stardom. They preach women’s independence, yet are criticized for not being sensitive to the “modesty” values of Muslim feminists.

And now, the greatest contradiction of them all: Femen is apparently run by a man. Or so that’s what everyone rushed to believe, when The Independent reported troubling revelations about to be screened at Venice in Kitty Green’s documentary about the group:

Ukraine is not a Brothel, directed by 28-year-old Australian film-maker Kitty Green, has “outed” Victor Svyatski as the mastermind behind the group. Mr Syvatski is known as a “consultant” to the movement. According to the Femen website, he was badly beaten up by the secret services in Ukraine earlier this summer because of his activities on behalf of the group.

However, Ms Green reveals that Svyatski is not simply a supporter of Femen but its founder and éminence grise. “It’s his movement and he hand-picked the girls. He hand-picked the prettiest girls because the prettiest girls sell more papers. The prettiest girls get on the front page… that became their image, that became the way they sold the brand,” she says.

The internet was quick to judge, and throw their former darlings under the bus. I’ll admit that I was shocked to think that some dude was pulling all the strings. But in this age of wildfire memes and snap group judgements, not all is always as it seems.

Today, in The Guardian, Femen’s most outspoken member, Inna Shevchenko, wrote a response that was both heartbreaking and credible:

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FEMEN: A portrait of opposition (contains nudity)

Posted by Tom Megginson | 25-03-2012 14:06 | Category: Women's Issues


French photographer Guillaume Herbaut recently won a World Press Photo 2012 award for his portrait of FEMEN’s Inna Shevchenko standing defiantly outside of Kiev, Ukraine.

A few weeks ago, Guillaume returned to Kiev to photograph the women of the movement defying the winter weather as well.

FEMEN have long defended their sexualized method of protest by claiming that if they just marched with banners they would never be noticed, and their voices would never be heard.

See the pictures with nudity after the break, and decide for yourself if the messages have greater impact when framed by the power of the female form. See other FEMEN coverage in the Osocio archives.

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Exclusive interview with FEMEN’s founder, Anna Hutsol

Posted by Tom Megginson | 2-08-2011 12:31 | Academy | Category: Interviews, Talks

Anna Hutsol, the founder and leader of Ukraine's FEMEN movement

A few weeks ago, I contacted Anna Hutsol, the founder and leader of Ukraine’s FEMEN movement, for an interview via Facebook. It proved difficult, as Anna is not only extremely busy but we speak different languages and required the services of a translator.

FEMEN have risen from being a local protest group in Kiev, known for their use of nudity and street theatre to protest Ukrainian sex tourism, to an international phenomenon tackling issues such a nuclear power and Saudi bans on women driving. The frank sexuality of their protests have gained them worldwide media attention, and they continue to build social media solidarity with other activist groups through FEMEN - International Support Team (FIST). They even, famously, bullied Mark Zuckerberg into reinstating their Facebook account after it was removed due to all the topless posts.

This morning, I finally received my answers in broken English. Anna did not address all my questions, but she did provide some insights into FEMEN’s origins, its mission, and its future.

I have taken the liberty of “cleaning up” the English responses. (* I have also included the raw translations of answers following, in case there is any misunderstanding.)


OSOCIO: How was the idea of FEMEN first conceived?

Anna: It was not difficult, as everyone knows how many problems are here in Ukraine and as Ukrainian girls we feel that every day in our minds and bodies. So all we needed was to be brave enough to tell the world about it. That’s why we decided to show that women are protesting, and to use our bodies as weapon in the fight.

OSOCIO: Have your objectives changed since then?

Anna: Yes, we have added many objectives to our program. But like in the beginning we still demand to stop sex tourism and prostitution in Ukraine. We demand to
let women develop themselves.

OSOCIO: How do you respond to critics who say that topless protest objectifies women?

Anna: As young, simple Ukrainian girls, we believe in what we are doing,  and we know what we need to do to protect ourselves. FEMEN was trying different
ways of fighting and in our experience we understood that only radical things can change the situation. At this time, in this country, only radical women’s protest can shake the world of passive women.

More Q&As and pictures (nudity) after the break.

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The Atom vs. The Eves (nudity)

Posted by Tom Megginson | 11-05-2011 12:15 | Category: Activism

Having made it into the mainstream consciousness through their topless protests against sex tourism, “old-boy” Ukrainian politics, and sexism in general, FEMEN have identified a new enemy: Nuclear power.


The women trucked out to the perimeter of the Chernobyl exclusion zone to stage a protest against what they see as the deadliness of nuclear power plants — comparing the devastating effects of the 1986 disaster in their homeland (64 direct deaths so far, with future estimates ranging from 4,000 - 200,000) with the Fukushima I nuclear accidents that happened as a result of this year’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

While most FEMEN operations are captured in a DIY style for their Vimeo channel, this protest was professionally filmed and edited. The result is perhaps FEMEN’s first “real” PSA. It’s quite artsy, and a little long, but it’s great to see their cause and methods treated with such earnest gravity:

(More after the break)

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