Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Robert Mugabe resigns, celebrations erupt in the streets of Harare

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Zimbabwe's end of an era

Read more

FOCUS

Video: An uncertain fate for US's transgender soldiers

Read more

THE DEBATE

Enslaved in Libya:

Read more

ENCORE!

Seal on his new album 'Standards' and why he doesn't like texting

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The End of German Stability'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Bad news for Merkel is bad news for Europe'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Zimbabwean MPs set to start impeachment proceedings against Mugabe

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US government sues to block AT&T-Time Warner merger

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

2017-11-17 Middle East

Exclusive: From Tehran to Najaf, a pilgrimage fraught with danger

It’s one of the most dangerous pilgrimages in the world. Every year, despite the deadly menace of the Islamic State group, millions of Shiites make a pilgrimage to southern Iraq,...

Read more

2017-11-09 Europe

Full circle: The second life of old clothes abroad

Our reporters investigated what happens to old clothes thrown out by Westerners. For several months, our team followed the trail of recycled clothes - from initial collection...

Read more

2017-11-03 Asia-pacific

Exclusive report: Burma in denial over Rohingya crisis

Burma’s northern Rakhine state is on lockdown. In recent weeks, violence has forced hundreds of thousands of minority Muslim Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh. FRANCE 24’s regional...

Read more

2017-10-27 Middle East

Video: The story of a deadly air strike in Iraq’s Mosul

For more than three years, the US-led coalition has been using air strikes to help Iraqi troops retake territory from Islamic State group jihadists. But some are now tallying the...

Read more

2017-10-20 Asia-pacific

The Dictator's Games: A rare look inside Turkmenistan

As Turkmenistan hosted the Asian Games in the capital Ashgabat, our reporter managed to obtain a visa to cover the event. He brings us a rare look inside one of the world’s most...

Read more