Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

A day in the life of an Indian entrepreneur

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US department store Sears faces possible closure

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Thomas Friedman on technology, Trump and the media

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Terror in Westminster'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Internet users say 'we are not afraid' after Westminster attack

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan faces water crisis

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Midwife', 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Girl Asleep'

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

The hidden collection: Iran exhibits contemporary art masterpieces

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

2017-03-16 Americas

Canada’s indigenous people determined to improve their lives

Although Canada regularly tops international rankings for its quality of life, the daily existence of the country’s indigenous people, also known as "First Nations", has more in...

Read more

2017-03-09 Middle East

Iraq's lost children: Victims of post-traumatic stress

In Iraq, thousands of civilians are fleeing the battle of Mosul against the Islamic State group jihadists. Many of the displaced have reached IDP camps in the north of the...

Read more

2017-03-03 Africa

Libya: Six years on, what remains of the revolution in key city of Zintan?

Six years have passed since the outbreak of the revolution that led to the ouster and killing of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. With the country divided between rival clans,...

Read more

2014-03-14 Bashar al-Assad

Syria’s chemical attacks: the inside story

A chemical weapons attack targeted the suburbs of Damascus in August 2013. The West threatened air strikes in response, and Syria agreed to destroy its chemical arms stockpile....

Read more

2017-02-24 Middle East

Video: India’s Kuki people, possible descendants of one of Israel's lost tribes

In northeastern India, a small ethnic group claims to be one of the lost tribes of Israel. The fervour of the Kuki people has persuaded the Chief Rabbi of Israel to approve their...

Read more