I was grateful to have been invited to join a conversation about the future of feminism that looked specifically at the tactics of Ukrainian protest group, FEMEN on Al Jazeera English‘s show The Stream last week.
Inna Shevchenko, the leader of Femen International and Chloe Angyal of Feministing.com were guests on the show and the producers invited feminist bloggers Chrissy D, Ariana Tobin, Sara Yasin, (who are all the best, fyi), and myself to bring in critical perspectives and questions.
The show was pretty packed, discussion-wise, and the producers did a great job of trying to include a wide variety of perspectives on FEMEN’s tactics. That said, there is A LOT more that could be said around some of the issues that came up and comments that made on the show. I personally spent much of my time on the show silently fuming over the, frankly, crazy things Shevchenko was saying.
I’ve written about Femen before, noting that the group seems generally clueless about feminism, past and present, based on statements such as: “We’re the new face of feminism…Classical feminism is dead.” Shevchenko seems to think that FEMEN invented both feminism in the Ukraine as well as the incredibly original, never-been-done-before tactic of women using their naked bodies in order to get people to look at them. They call it ‘sextremism’, I call it the same old shit. What I’ve noted elsewhere is that nude protest, when it comes to women, is a great tactic if your priority is to get media attention, but can be problematic because, often, that is the only way the media will pay attention to women — i.e. if we are performing for the male gaze. Read entire article here.