By Terry Gresham

199138_143093195758555_128165263918015_280690_5323118_nFEMEN is a Ukrainian protest group based in Kiev. They organize topless protests in response to sex tourism–sex tours– and international marriage agencies in the Ukraine.  Since 2008, Femen has been working against sex exploitation of women.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, citizens have worked against forces creating conditions that have left the Ukraine labeled, the Bangkok of Europe.

UKRAINE (TIER 2 Watch List)   [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]

Ukraine is a source, transit and, to a lesser extent, destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Forty-eight percent of the trafficking victims assisted by IOM and its local NGO partners in Ukraine in 2008 suffered sexual exploitation; three percent had been forced to beg; and 49 percent suffered other forms of forced labor. Ukrainian victims are trafficked to Russia, Poland, Turkey, Italy, Austria, Spain, Germany, Portugal, the Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Israel, Greece, Lebanon, Benin, Tunisia, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Slovakia, Syria, Switzerland, the United States, Canada and Belarus. Women were forced into the sex industry, or forced to work as housekeepers, in service industries, or in textile or light manufacturing.

The economic downturn has taken a toll on poorer countries where employment opportunities force women onto the streets where rich westerners can exploit them.  This being so, as of 2012 politicians still seem oblivious or in league.  Despite efforts of citizens, the country’s booming sex industry still expects to total up to $1.5 billion.

“We understand that the root causes for many of the problems in the Ukraine run very deep, says Victor, one of Femen’s male members.

Since their existence, FEMEN has broadened their protest from domestic battles, such as  taking action for tougher legislation on the persistence and advancement of exploitation– the clientele of prostitutes, to international issues such as Saudi women and cars, human rights, and opposition of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin.  According to the Russia Times, FEMEN’ is also targeting Russia’s “gas terror” against Ukraine during the country’s freezing winter.

This is a women’s revolution with 300 activists in Kyiv of which 20 take part in “topless” protests.  Another 50 activists come from Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk.  Internet support base counts somewhere around 25,000.

Some of the goals of the organization are:

“To develop leadership, intellectual and moral qualities of the young women in Ukraine” and “To build up the image of Ukraine, the country with great opportunities for women.”

The goals of the organization are “to shake women in Ukraine, making them socially active; to organize in 2017 a women’s revolution.”
FEMEN justifies its provocative methods stating, “This is the only way to be heard in this country. If we staged simple protests with banners, then our claims would not have been noticed”. The organization plans to become the biggest and the most influential feminist movement in Europe.  Femen facebook info

The unconventional protest methods are easy to criticize and dismiss in the West but taking tops off to grow earned media has worked where gaining a voice and say in matters is far from a straightforward task.  (Bloggers who condemn FEMEN activists are most likely seated near a thermostat wrapped in a warm blanket)  Let us emphasize the term earned media. In bitter freezing temperatures, earned media is far different from simply attracting attention. In their efforts, FEMEN has picked up thousands of supporters throughout Europe and the world.  Their demands are heard.

If you are not a fan, that’s your problem.



Comments on Lawton/Ft Sill Progressives:

  • Dawn Bona, Karl Howeth and 2 others like this.
    • Claudia Samuels Interesting way to get a couple of points across.
      Yesterday at 1:23am · Like ·  1
    • Karen Jones Our God is woman, our mission is protest, our weapons are bare breasts
      Yesterday at 2:39am · Like ·  1
    • Terry Gresham It’s not cold enough in Lawton yet for me to go topless.
      22 hours ago · Like ·  1
    • Claudia Samuels LOL
      22 hours ago · Like
    • Karen Jones I wrote this comment topless.
      20 hours ago · Unlike ·  3
    • Joan Roberts I’m shocked! I never! Shame shame! Such behavior is unbecoming of a Lady! What is the world coming to! Your Mother would never aprove! Get thee to a nunery! I, myself, am commenting …Oh…shoot… dang it, I dropped my towel.
      10 hours ago · Like ·  2
    • Brenda Weber Boobies!
      10 hours ago via mobile · Like ·  2
    • Steve Shaw Yes, Brenda, but they are green! Looks like Marilyn Chambers got together with Dr. Suess! “I would not, could not….”
      7 hours ago · Like ·  1
    • Terry Gresham
      Exactly Steve. I think that is much of a lot of what this is about. (I think) Thousands of supporters. No corporate sponsorship. No tour bus. Well organized. There are only 20 women protesters supported by organizers and thousands of fans. I like the non-violence aspect of this protest. If one thinks about the problems they are attacking. the creativity inherent is a well panned out and thought out non-violent protest… reminds me of the Clara Luper’s cafe sit-ins here in Oklahoma when I think of the civil disobedience tactic.
      2 hours ago · Like ·  1
    • Terry Gresham Cara Luper http://youtu.be/s5kT0khIUVs

      Taking a Stand by Sitting-in with Clara Luper


      Clara Luper, a revolutionary civil rights leader in Oklahoma, led the first sit-…See More
      about an hour ago · Like ·
    • Terry Gresham I ike the term Earned Media.
      38 minutes ago · Like
    • Dawn Bona When you consider what they are protesting, baring their breasts is a brilliant move. Also, it has garnered them attention for their cause. How many people would never think about human trafficking in that area (and it is really bad over there) if the media hadn’t picked up the story because they flashed their breasts? These women are on my heroes list.
      38 minutes ago · Like
    • Karen Jones <http://femen.org/>
      3 minutes ago · Like

2 thoughts on “Femen

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