Thursday, April 5, 2012

Taking It Off For Freedom: Women of FEMEN Protest Islamic Oppression of Muslim Women

UPDATE, 17 AUG 2012: UNCENSORED VIDEOS of FEMEN Member Inna Shevchenko Cutting Down Cross In Kiev to Support Pussy Riot

Getty image found at
April 5, 2012 - This probably frightens Islamic fundamentalists more than the sight of a Black Hawk helicopter bearing down on them. Some of us, though, think that areolae  are better than aerial bombs.

Paris was the scene last Saturday of a nipples-exposed, signs-waving anti-Islamist protest. The women of FEMEN bared their breasts with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. Their mission: Call attention to the oppression of Muslim women.

Think about this: There are fundamentalist Muslim men who are more horrified by the photos of the topless ladies of FEMEN than they are by photos of Muslim women being stoned to death for the "crime" of being raped.

Getty image found at
FEMEN is the Ukrainian feminist group that has become famous protesting sex tourism and prostitution, and the "objectification" of women by marching naked and half naked in the streets. Some call what FEMEN is doing the "topless revolution."

The bare-breasted demonstration in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday. The women screamed slogans like “Nudity is freedom,” "Muslim women get naked" and "no to Sharia law.” NowLebanon has a nice little report by Angie Nassar, who noted that "sex can be used as a tool for both coercion and liberation, and I think these women are well aware of that."

Well, of course they're aware of that, which is why FEMEN uses their get-naked street theater tactics. The fact that the FEMEN women are all drop-dead gorgeous helps in the public relations effort, too. What photographer could resist a FEMEN event? Lots of large photos of the Paris protest can be found at

Zazzle Store
But does this kind of protest work? Yes and maybe. It certainly gets great exposure (no pun intended) for their public relations effort. They're getting their message heard. But is that message causing the kind of pro-women, anti-oppression action that FEMEN demands? I would hope so, but how can that be measured?

"Women from Ukraine to Iran are removing their tops to make a statement about women's rights," notes Alex Pearlman at  "It's not clear if the tactic is working, but it sure has ruffled a few feathers and inspired more action." Pearlman added, "The nude revolution is actually brilliant.

Islam is dangerous for women
These women feel no one is listening to their stories and their pain. They are underrepresented in government and marginalized in society. They make less money. Sometimes they can't legally drive.

It seems that regular old marching and sign-carrying isn't doing the trick to get the powers that be (men) to pay attention. So how else can women get men to listen and pay attention? They take their tops off."

To be honest, I enjoy seeing these beautiful women. However, my admiration is not entirely shallow. I genuinely support their efforts and the message they are screaming to the world. Too much of the world ignores the message, oblivious to the brutal way that millions of Muslim women are treated. Perhaps only dogs, reviled by Muslims, are treated with less respect in the wonderful world of Islamdom.

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