Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Dotard: an educational insult

Read more

#TECH 24

Medtech: Repairing the human body

Read more

ENCORE!

Jennifer Lawrence on why she's unafraid to speak out

Read more

#THE 51%

Hola "Ellas Hoy" - The 51 Percent welcomes its sister show on FRANCE 24 Spanish

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

A stroll through the Corsican city of Calvi, jewel of the Mediterranean

Read more

REPORTERS

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

Read more

FOCUS

'Generation Merkel' yearns for continuity and stability

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Amazon rainforest pays heavy price for Brazil's political crisis

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Presidential election re-run pushed back to October 26th

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2013-11-01

Femen: Modern amazons, radical actions

The Femen are known for their spectacular topless protests. But who really are these radical feminists? Our reporter went to meet them.

It began as a small group of Ukrainian women who were tired of being subjected  to sexists insults by men. In 2008, Anna Hutsol, Sasha Shevchenko and Oksana Shachko - joined some time later by Inna Shevchenko - decided to hold their first protests.

The Femen never imagined they would receive as much media coverage, even when two years later they decided to conduct their protests topless.

These young women denounce - in no particular order - sexism, homophobia, prostitution, dictatorships and religions. Their protests are always provocative and attract a heavy media presence. Although the Femen activists talk of “peaceful action”, those targeted often talk of being attacked.

Regularly arrested, molested, or imprisoned, the young women have been declared persona non grata in Ukraine and in Russia, where they are considered criminals. The founders of the movement have now fled to France and Switzerland.

Here in Paris, Inna Shevchenko, the public face of the movement, took over the group a year ago. She heads up the Paris office, which has become Femen’s international headquarters. Recently, she orchestrated a spectacular protest in favour of gay marriage, when Femen took over Paris’ famed Notre-Dame Cathedral.

It was not easy to meet these young women. The activists are naturally suspicious, not only of men, but of journalists in general. They also keep a tight lid on their forthcoming actions, for fear of them being disrupted.

We finally managed to establish a relationship of trust with them. We wanted to understand why there are currently several controversies surrounding Femen. Why have key activists left the movement? Why have some “subsidiaries” closed? Who finances the young women? Is the group in crisis? FRANCE 24 takes a closer look at a movement which provokes both passion and anger.

By Willy BRACCIANO

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-09-22 Middle East

The torment of Christians living in Syria’s Khabur valley

In the last few years, Syria’s Christians have been subjected to violent attacks and kidnappings by the Islamic State group. Churches have been burnt and entire villages in the...

Read more

2017-09-15 Middle East

Video: How the Haredim, Israel’s ultra-Orthodox, make their own rules

In Israel, the Haredim community (or "Those in awe of God") lives separately from the rest of Israeli society. Dressed all in black, these ultra-Orthodox practise a strict form...

Read more

2017-09-07 DR Congo

In DR Congo, karate helps rape victims rebuild their lives

For the past three years, Frenchwoman Laurence Fischer, a three-time world karate champion, has travelled to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo to help female victims of...

Read more

2017-09-01 Japan

Video: Returning home to Fukushima

On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, in 1986. Just like in the Soviet Union,...

Read more

2017-08-23 Africa

Video: The fight for survival in drought-hit Somaliland

Since the beginning of this year, Somaliland, an autonomous territory in the Horn of Africa, has been ravaged by severe drought. As eighty percent of the region’s livestock has...

Read more