The image of young, blonde Ukrainian women with half-naked bodies and sexual rights slogans painted on their breasts has become one of the most recognisable and scandalous phenomena worldwide in recent years. They are Femen, 1 one of the best-known feminist carnivalesque protest groups, founded in Ukraine to fight for sexual equality and sexual and political freedoms. Despite the obviously provocative component of their spectacular protests or even performances?
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.
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.
These are external links and will open in a new window. Their audacious topless stunts have earned them high-value exposure in the West - but with an approaching election at home in Ukraine, can the women's rights group Femen make a real difference? The door to Femen headquarters is adorned with a large pair of sculpted breasts, painted in blue and yellow, the Ukrainian colours.
Three founders of Femen said Saturday they had left Ukraine in fear for their lives after police discovered weapons in their Kiev offices that the feminist group says were planted. Alexandra Shevchenko, Anna Hutsol and Yana Zhdanova "have fled Ukraine fearing for their lives and for their liberty" and would "continue their activities in Europe", said a statement on the group's website. The three women decided to leave after Ukrainian police called them in for questioning on Friday, the statement said.
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.
Whether she's railing against the Catholic hierarchy or battling social conservatives, Ukrainian activist Inna Shevchenko's feminism is a contact sport. Atop the six-inch high heels of her black felt boots, her wavy, strawberry blonde hair spilling out from beneath a black baseball cap, her eyes mint-green and penetrating, she cut an impressive figure. Femen professes to use female beauty as a weapon, and Shevchenko is well armed.
The organization became internationally known for organizing controversial   topless protests against sex tourism  religious institutions,  sexism, homophobia,  and other social, national, and international topics. Founded in Ukraine, the group is now based in Paris. The organization describes itself as "fighting patriarchy in its three manifestations — sexual exploitation of womendictatorship and religion "  and has stated that its goal is "sextremism serving to protect women's rights".
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.
B efore meeting Inna Shevchenko I would have said it was impossible for an educated year-old woman studying journalism at a prestigious university in a European capital, while working as the city mayor's press officer, to know nothing about feminism. But Shevchenko is adamant. She had literally never even heard of it, until one evening she received a message on Russia's version of Facebook that would change her life, and may well be about to change Britain.