So, FEMEN are in the news again, for opening a new headquarters in Paris. I read through the article, then broke one of my rules about keeping my blood pressure down and read the comments. Most of them were men salivating over the idea of topless female protesters, and bemoaning the lack of topless protesting in their country/countries. A few said they didn’t care what the protest was about, they just wanted to see more women in the streets with no shirts or bras on.
This got me thinking, and this will be my only musing on FEMEN and their antics. If you want something more in-depth, read blogs by people from the Former Soviet Union who can provide better context for their actions and how they are perceived. But I will say this: It’s well known by feminist scholars that Audre Lorde once warned of the futility of using the “master’s tools” to try and dismantle the “master’s house”. That is to say, you cannot subvert or destroy patriarchal, oppressive, problematic institutions by playing by their rules, no matter how hard you try. I’d therefore argue that it’s dangerous and counterproductive to try to bring an end to rape culture by catering to the male gaze and the reduction of women’s power to their status as sex objects.
My two cents.