A new group of activists is swapping all across Europe: the FEMEN. Women protesting the exploitation of women by writing their message across their bare chests. They protest at political function, they protested at GNTM, they protested at the Barbie Dream House in Berlin.
They originally were a group of women protesting sex tourism in Ukraine. They originally protested like every other group, with signs, and dressed. But when they felt like no-one was listening, they took their protests to the next level, without signs, and without clothes. They carry their message on their chests, because obviously, that’s where it will be seen. They are students and professionals; they are single women and married mothers; they may be your neighbor or the woman you meet at the bank counter. And their voices are finally heard. Their pictures cover the newspapers across the globe; it has grown from a local group of women fighting for an important cause to an international network. They fight for freedom from oppression and against human trafficking and exploitation; they give a voice to all women confined to their homes, whose voices are never heard; they fight for our daughters to be able to grow up in a world where they are equals, appreciated for their intellect and their talents instead of their bodies and looks. And they do it using their bodies.
The major criticism the FEMEN women receive is that they are exploiting their own bodies in order to fight exploitation of women. Why not just put their message on a t-shirt? Because no-one will look at a t-shirt. But the world does look on bare chests. It’s not them who are immodest or scandalous, it’s society. The FEMEN activists are holding up a mirror to show to everyone what this is what it really takes for women to be heard.
I personally admire the determination, bravery, and endurance of all FEMEN activists. They are fighting for a cause we all, men and women, should support. They face violence from security and law enforcement personnel, criticism and bias from the media and conservative groups, and even imprisonment. I admit, there was a time in my life where I might have joined them to fight in the front line for all the women who don’t have a voice. Today, I do my part on the home front, trying to change the world starting with our two daughters, with the way our family lives. Promoting a change in women’s position in society from home. I wonder how it can be that the majority of college graduates are female, but their number in management positions are still so low? How comes that a women still earns less doing the same job as a male colleague in many companies? And why is it that women have to turn their bodies into protest signs to be taken serious?
What is your opinion on FEMEN?