I’m sorry about the weird disposition of the text , it doesn’t work when I edit it :/

I’m sure you all know this protest group, but here’s a small description:                                                                

Femen is a feminist group from Ukraine. Their three main fights are women’s right (equal representation in politics, they fight against prostitution, equal salary …) democracy (they fight against the Ukrainian authoritarian president Viktor Ianoukovytch and the lack a freedom of expression in this country) and the impact of religion in politics and social issues (some members consider the group as an atheist group but we also know that a lot of members are religious , especially women in Muslim countries ; but we can at least consider Femen as a secular group).                                                                                            Here’s their logo:             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Femen_Logo.svg                                                   It symbolize the letter Ф (the first letter of Femen in Ukrainian) with Ukraine’s flag colors. But it also represent breasts, because the particularity of Femen’s demonstrations is that they are made topless.       The group was repressed so violently (some members have been reported to have been beaten by Ukrainian police and putted in prison for no legal reason) that they had to move from their country. They asked a political asylum to France and they have since their headquarters in Paris.                                     Femen has several international branches and the more active one are in Russia, Tunisia, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada, France, and of course Ukraine.                                                                                        

The controversy about this group is about the nature of the demonstration. The more obvious issues some people have with Femen is their nudity when they  demonstrate like when the went in front of Putin, Merkel and Hollande. Some people say that fighting for women’s right and especially against prostitution naked is dumb , uselessly shocking and a bad publicity for feminism.                                                                         A lot of their demonstrations are also blasphemous or at least really disrespectful to religion. They degraded Notre Dame Cathedral’s bells, they destroyed a public cross in Kiev. In the church called La Madeleine they simulated an abortion (with “Christmas is canceled” written on their bodies, so we can easily imagine who they were pretending to abort) in response of catholic demonstrations against abortion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01NWMYqU7Ak http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=861oGyUkmEQ

There’s countless others Femen’s demonstration I could have talked about but the ones I picked are representative of what they fight for and why there’s such a big controversy about the group.

I’d like to have your opinion. Obviously I don’t think I’ll find someone on TA against women’s rights, democracy and secularism, but I’m interested in your thoughts about their methods. When it comes to demonstrate and shock to make things change, in what seems to me like a legitimate fight, how much is too much?

Tags: Femen, Feminism

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Hmm,  I don't really have a lot of time to look deep into this at the moment.  But at a quick scan of the situation, I would only worry about their actions working against their case, getting some of them hurt or making things worse for themselves.  All that asides, I'm all for feminists, and equal rights.  As long as their not killing people the can do whatever they like to make their case in my book.

A lot of their demonstrations are also blasphemous or at least really disrespectful to religion. They degraded Notre Dame Cathedral’s bells, they destroyed a public cross in Kiev. In the church called La Madeleine they simulated an abortion (with “Christmas is canceled” written on their bodies, so we can easily imagine who they were pretending to abort) in response of catholic demonstrations against abortion.

You cannot be blasphemous unless you believe in God. I know of no major religion-- Christian, Islam or Judaism-- that does not have a long history of disrespect for women, so I will spare FEMEN the double standard of demanding they be respectful to religious institutions in return.

I know of no way a topless woman can "degrade" a church bell, but I know a church can degrade homosexuals, women seeking abortions, and victims of child sex abuse. My country's Constitution forbids 'public crosses' as an offense to the basic human right of freedom of religion, so I applaud the woman who took a chainsaw to the one in Kiev to protest the absurd jailing of Pussy Riot. Likewise, if some Catholics feel women having abortions are fair game for demonstrations, then turnabout to their church is fair play.

When it comes to demonstrate and shock to make things change, in what seems to me like a legitimate fight, how much is too much?

Too much is blowing up buses, spraying shopping malls with bullets, or being tortured in prison, not bare breasts, fake abortions, or striking cathedral bells with wooden sticks. They're not committing acts of terrorism. They're staging disruptive publicity stunts to fight back against religious oppression and the sexual exploitation of women.

If these women were marching with banners in everyday street clothes, nobody would pay any attention. Once they started taking their clothes off, crowds gathered and the banners made headline news. I think it's a brilliant, courageous publicity gimmick: women using sexual power to deliver a message. How the women are treated at the hands of the authorities becomes part of the story as well.

I know of no way a topless woman can "degrade" a church bell

 It’s not a big deal but we found some stripes/scratches on the bells. They are really old and I can understand they’re important to French catholics.

You cannot be blasphemous unless you believe in God.

I disagree on that point. The fact that we’re atheist doesn’t mean that we can publicly disrespect religions. Those disrespectful demonstrations can affect all Catholics, even those not homophobic or against women’s rights. We might not have the definition of a blasphemy but to me I don’t see why you’d need to believe in God to be able to do one. I'm not affected as an atheist but I can understand if someone feel ofended.

My country's Constitution forbids 'public crosses' as an offense to the basic human right of freedom of religion

Where do you come from ? In your profile we can read that you’re from USA. Are public crosses really illegal there? 

Then I have to say that I fully agree with you about the rest. I admire their courage and determination. I support this group, their message and their methods. I donated a bit last year because I really want them to continue doing what they’re doing. I think they have to be shocking to be heard, and that they’re doing a wonderful job. I’m just interested in TA’s members opinion about Femen, I wanted to initiate a debate with potential members against the group to understand their thoughts. I tried to present objectively Femen , their message , demonstrations and what the controversy is about. 

nope, I'm completely incapable of blasphemy.  What I can do if be disrespectful, cause destruction of property of offend someone beliefs.  Things I wouldn't do for no reason.

I'm sure these women offended someone who didn't actively oppress them, but the church as a whole could have done a lot more to stop the oppression of women the world over for the past few century, at least no one is ignoring them now.

As far as the near nudity goes, As I said, I support equal rights and the feminist movement as a whole.  But I really don't think I'm conflicting with either of those statements when I say, that's the most fun looking feminist rally I've ever seen.

It’s not a big deal but we found some stripes/scratches on the bells. They are really old and I can understand they’re important to French catholics.

The news media widely reported they were new bronze bells, not really old bells. Notre Dame is essentially claiming that bare female skin or padded wooden sticks can scratch bronze. I find it more plausible they are either lying or the security guards who forcibly removed the women did the damage themselves.

Gallup: You cannot be blasphemous unless you believe in God.
Nicolas Gauvin: I disagree on that point. The fact that we’re atheist doesn’t mean that we can publicly disrespect religions. Those disrespectful demonstrations can affect all Catholics, even those not homophobic or against women’s rights. We might not have the definition of a blasphemy but to me I don’t see why you’d need to believe in God to be able to do one. I'm not affected as an atheist but I can understand if someone feel ofended.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm no more capable of offending God than I am of offending a leprechaun, and for the same reasons.

I am capable of offending those who believe in God, but I've addressed this already. Religious institutions offend and cause harm by intruding where they are not wanted, such as with homosexuals or women seeking abortions. That some Catholics have strayed does not change what the Church does as a powerful, influential institution. The protests are a response to that. If offense is taken, so be it. Religious have no more right to live in a world free of offense than do the people they offend. 

Where do you come from ? In your profile we can read that you’re from USA. Are public crosses really illegal there?

I'm from the United States. Yes, it's against the Constitution to put up a cross or other religious monuments on public land. There can be no public crosses here. The law is sometimes ignored, often for years at a time, but blatant violations rarely survive challenges in court.

The news media widely reported they were new bronze bells, not really old bells. Notre Dame is essentially claiming that bare female skin or padded wooden sticks can scratch bronze. I find it more plausible they are either lying or the security guards who forcibly removed the women did the damage themselves.

Yep, you're totally right. My bad, I misread. I was looking for the reason why it was such a huge deal and I don’t know why I thought too fast and figured that it was logic. But still, the bells were blessed (please don’t tell me that’s stupid, I’m also an atheist, a blessing doesn’t worth anything for me too) and dedicated to Christian people (I think the main problem is about stripes on the bell named Marcel , in memory of Saint Marcel).

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I'm no more capable of offending God than I am of offending a leprechaun, and for the same reasons.

I am capable of offending those who believe in God, but I've addressed this already. Religious institutions offend and cause harm by intruding where they are not wanted, such as with homosexuals or women seeking abortions. That some Catholics have strayed does not change what the Church does as a powerful, influential institution. The protests are a response to that. If offense is taken, so be it. Religious have no more right to live in a world free of offense than do the people they offend. 

Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God, to religious or holy persons or things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy

I think we might be playing with words, but to me what they did correspond to the definition of blasphemy. And once again I fully support this group and what they’re doing. 

 

I think we might be playing with words, but to me what they did correspond to the definition of blasphemy.

We might be, but my understanding of blasphemy (from the definition in Merriam-Webster) is:

1. a :  the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God b :  the act of claiming the attributes of deity 2:  irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable

 

I'm referring to the concept of insulting a deity or being irreverent toward sacred bells and whatever magic surrounds them as a result of being holy or blessed.

 

I'm not disputing that believers might be offended. I'm saying it's impossible to offend a supernatural being or befoul a supernatural quality because they do not exist.

I know that prostitution is a big problem in the Ukraine. Girls (13 on up) are sold into slavery all over the world, many ending up in America. However, in America not all prostitutes are victims. Yes, you have the streetwalker run by a street pimp, or the sex slave in a sleazy cheap motel run by a slavemaster. However, you also have the independent escort, who is a sexual entrepreneur. I've known several. They are quite real and work for no one but themselves.

Rather than ending prostitution, perhaps Femen should be working for sex worker rights, the way a certain segment of the American feminist movement do. 

I agree with many that the getting naked party doesn't seem to fit with their goals, but maybe someone can explain it. Perhaps it's just to make sure they get some attention.

 However, in America not all prostitutes are victims. 

I’ve already heard about that before, and the argument seems valid to me. I’d still like to see a survey about that. 

Rather than ending prostitution, perhaps Femen should be working for sex worker rights, the way a certain segment of the American feminist movement do. 

I think it’s a good idea in countries like USA, but as you said it, the situation in others ones like Ukraine is completely different. I think ban prostitution there could be a good thing, at least as a transition.

I agree with many that the getting naked party doesn't seem to fit with their goals, but maybe someone can explain it. Perhaps it's just to make sure they get some attention.

 Well, the leader said that demonstrating half-naked is a symbol of the «repossession” of women’s bodies by themselves. Now you’re free to find this explication convincing or not ^^. But yes, obviously, it’s also a way to get some attention and to shock, they’re not ashamed to say it.

I'd like some stats on that too, but how the hell would you administer that survey? It's too underground...and for those who are under the control of pimps, how to gain acess to them and get an honest response (other than what their boss tells them to say)???

That does sound like a problem.

wtf

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