Today we're rounding off Girls Rule with a day of content curated by female protest group Femen. Australian-Ukranian filmmaker Kitty Green following the women for 14 months as they wrestle with the internal politics of the group, battle with heavy-handed authorities and finally, fall apart — or so it seemed. In response, Femen members booted Svyatski out of the group, and under increasing political persecution in Ukraine, many fled to France or Switzerland to set up new Femen outposts.
Natalia: Before we get into the meat of things, I have to ask — do you ever get scared? You must piss off plenty of people. But the thing is, I refuse to.
By Robbie Collin. Eight months ago, as he arrived at a polling station in Milan for a photo opportunity, Silvio Berlusconi was pounced on by three half-naked young women. Seconds after they had thrown off their shirts, policemen and carabinieri surged towards the women and wrestled them outside, where a light show had started to fall.
While fears of unpreparedness, violence, and other possible problems in Ukraine during the Euro games proved unwarranted, one was realized: topless girls from a scandalous Ukrainian activist group called Femen. Showing up blouseless throughout the duration of the championship, with anti-Euro slogans, the organization even managed to get one of it's operatives into the cage of a psychic pig, Funtik, and flash him in front of the fans. The girls have been the most visible and controversial activist group in Ukraine since - protesting, mostly against sexism, attempting to empower women by showing their boobs in public. The group has staged many loud protests throughout the years and their presence during the European Cup is its most recent.
Alexandra, a slinky blonde who goes by Sasha, knows how to fight. Her face, with pouty lips and blue eyes, can morph from winsome to fearsome in the seconds it takes to strip off a T-shirt and pump a fist in the air. It is a move she has perfected, most recently in April at a trade fair in Germany where she charged, half-naked, toward Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Vladimir V.
We're on their trail, and we've got many fresh leads to chase down — please support our work. Frontline activists, including women who use their topless bodies as political statements, are gathering in London to deplore threats to free expression worldwide. Such are the risks to some frontline activists who have dared to challenge religious orthodoxies around the world that an international conference on Free Expression and Conscience, July, is taking place at an undisclosed venue in central London, the location known only to the participants.
I t's not every day that a women's rights group from eastern Europe makes it into the Sun. But it's no surprise that the redtop made an exception for Femen last year. Its twentysomething Ukrainian campaigners regularly go topless with flowers in their hair, have worn bikinis made from surgical masks, and even mud-wrestled to draw attention to their cause, since they launched in — causing outrage among feminists and traditionalists alike.
Pussy Riot has almost become a household name after the group's protests against Russian president Vladimir Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church landed them in prison, and demonstrations and outrage in Ukraine over its leadership has led to a return of Cold War era international tension. But another female protest movement, with roots in Ukraine, has also made international headlines and is likely to become even better known through Australian director Kitty Green's documentary, Ukraine Is Not A Brothel. It has since branched out to hold demonstrations against dictatorships, religion and other issues, and has launched chapters in other countries.
Ukraine's answer: Take off your bra! A group of young activists is gaining popularity here for staging topless protests that involve sexually charged gestures, obscene slogans and scuffles with security guards and police. Often, the point seems to be just getting naked. The activists, slender, long-legged beauties with traditional Ukrainian flower wreaths in their hair, say they are promoting women's rights and fighting for democracy, but some critics say they're just seeking fame and undermining the feminist cause.