Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

#TECH 24

Station F: Putting Paris on the global tech map

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Davos 2017: 'I believe in the power of entrepreneurs to change the world'

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French education with a difference: Teachers who think outside the box

Read more

#THE 51%

Equality in the boardroom: French law requires large firms to have 40% women on boards

Read more

FASHION

Men's fashion: Winter 2017/2018 collections shake up gender barriers

Read more

ENCORE!

Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan speaks out about her time behind bars

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Threat of economic crisis still looms in Zimbabwe

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: Has the bubble burst?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

DAVOS 2017: Summit overshadowed by geopolitical changes

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. And you can watch it online as early as 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

2017-01-19 Burundi

Burundi: Fear and Exile

When Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was running for a controversial third mandate in April 2015, he sparked a major crisis and many demonstrations. Since...

Read more

2017-01-13 USA

Video: Meeting Trump voters in Wisconsin

On January 20, Donald Trump will be sworn in as 45th president of the United States. With his promise of radical change in American politics, he won several states that until...

Read more

2017-01-05 Africa

Dadaab: Growing up in the world’s largest refugee camp

Located in eastern Kenya, near the Somali border, is Dadaab. This sprawling refugee camp is home to some 280,000 people, most of them from Somalia. Over the past 25 years, a...

Read more

2016-12-26 Middle East

Exclusive: Embedded with Iraqi special forces in Mosul

For more than two months, Iraqi forces have fought to retake Mosul from Islamic State group militants. A quarter of the city has been recaptured but the jihadists are still...

Read more

2016-12-23 migrants

Ferrette: The French village giving hope to migrants

It’s been almost a year since Ferrette, a tiny village in France’s Alsace region, transformed one of its old army barracks into a reception centre for refugees seeking asylum....

Read more