“Our Breasts Do Not Bite”- Femen protest group

Justyna Mielnikiewicz

Profile of  FEMEN- feminist activists group from Ukraine, who gain the fame for their topless protests. Founded in Ukraine, the group is now based in Paris. Femen office in their native Kiev was closed in 2013  when the organization’s leadership left Ukraine “Fearing for their lives and freedom” in August 2013. After one of its founders Inna Shevchenko chopped down a wooden cross overlooking Independence Square in Kiev on 17 August 2012, she stated that she had received several death threats .Fearing arrest, she sought asylum in France and moved to Paris. There, in September 2012, she established a training facility for activists for Femen in France.

My story is a documentation of Femen activities in Ukraine. They call themselves feminists but underline that they promote  a new kind of feminism – the sexy feminist – born of necessity as much as a committed sense of individualism and personal rights. Set up in 2008 by Anna Hustol, the group in 2011 consisted  of around 20 topless activists and some 300 supporters. Most of the activists are in their early 20s, from the provinces, and either have university degrees or are still studying.  FEMEN’s actions in Ukraine  focused on various human rights issues which  have an impact on women’s rights, both locally and globally. Humor was  an important element in their work, although not everybody appreciated that. They were  arrested for protesting, and some  received short  jail sentences. They took personal risk in a country where people have become disillusioned with public protests.

Femen nw operating mostly from Franace where most founding members resettled has several international branches. On their web page they state: “FEMEN is an international women’s movement of brave topless female activists painted with the slogans and crowned with flowers.Female sextremists are trained in the training centers created by the movement in Ukraine and France. “

More Less