Femen - Is a topless protest an effective form of dissent?

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terrytowel
Femen - Is a topless protest an effective form of dissent?

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terrytowel

Femen is an international women’s movement of brave topless female activists painted with the slogans and crowned with flowers.

Is a topless protest an effective form of dissent?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

It gets attention, so in that sense it is effective.  Substantively, though, I'm not sold on it.

6079_Smith_W

I don't have a problem with the semi-nudity. Naked bicycle rides don't attract the same criticism. And I'd say there's a big difference between the "ick" factor of this group, and PETA, which has used nudity in a far more sexually exploitative way.

I am leery of the fact that they were originally (no longer, apparently) organized by a guy, and when I first checked out their website some years back there was no politics on the main page - just,. ironically, t-shirts for sale. That is no longer the case.

Most striking protest I think they ever pulled was chainsawing that cross in Kiev over the Pussy Riot trial. If the criticism is that the focus is all on breasts, it certainly wasn't the case in that action.

As for debates about how appropriate it is, I think it bears remembering that Carrie Nation was also considered a caricature and a joke when she was smashing saloons; now she is the first name that comes to mind when thinking of the early temperance struggle. And she is not the only protester  whose contemporary status as a joke, loose cannon or exploiter has been forgotten.  So while I have no problem with discussion of the appropriate nature of tactics, you can't have that discussion without factoring in results, and that everyone wants to do what is necessary for their protest to gain attention. And of course we are going to see someone else's tactic as a gimmick if it is not to our taste.

It is also important to put the nudity in a European context, where that is no big deal, and also to consider that sex is a pretty common part of other similar protest groups, most notably Voina in Russia, which has staged orgies on film and painted a giant penis on a drawbridge as a protest against the KGB. I think I posted the helicopter dildo not too long ago on another thread. I probably don't need to do it again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-tpG-AYs7o 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I think the time for another FLQ-esque group needs to be established in Canada.

Militant direct action.

No amount of boobies or placards are going to change a damn thing. We're passed a peaceful solution.

NDPP

FEMEN's Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Connections:

http://rabble.ca/comment/1492911#comment-1492911

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Well, alan, I wish you a great lack of success with that.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

An effective form of dissent = direct action.

We all can learn a thing or two from anarchists.

Slumberjack

Something like that risks inviting far more repression than what currently exists.  Look what the last Trudeau did in the 70s.  Repression is a subjective term though that depends on one's status in society.  For some it's a daily reality as it is.

6079_Smith_W

alan smithee wrote:

An effective form of dissent = direct action.

Really? Well it depends on what you mean, but since you invoke bombing, kidnapping and murder, how did the group that went by that "direct action" name fare?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

An effective form of dissent = direct action.

Really? Well it depends on what you mean, but since you invoke bombing, kidnapping and murder, how did the group that went by that "direct action" name fare?

How has peaceful protests and 'democracy' been working out?

Slumberjack

The Icelanders used pots and pans to great effect, but the laws around the right to peaceful assembly and the carte blanche that is given to the police in this society makes even that kind of peaceful undertaking risky business, even if we could involve the most benign elements of the citizenry.  What is needed is an effective way to hold rank and file police, their leaders, and the political leaders in this country to account for their violence.  We don't really have a reliable process like that, and even the most determined objectors to police violence must have the patience of years of legal proceedings to see justice if any is to be had at all.  It's enough to almost wish for the drumhead method of sorting things out at the top were that not a risk in itself.  But when it comes to ideas for direct action, who am I to say 'no, that won't work.'  When political representation is non-existent all of the pent up frustration is understandable.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

  When political representation is non-existent all of the pent up frustration is understandable.

Thank you,SJ.

6079_Smith_W

On another note, my but this went stupid rather quickly, on several fronts.

Who was saying that naked protests aren't an effective means of getting attention?

(edit)

cross posted with you, alan. Do you really want to go there and start comparing notes? Thing is, I don't need to put murder in scare quotes.

6079_Smith_W

Yeah, Mr. Jefferson said something about the tree of liberty needing regular feedings of blood.

I don't believe that shit either.

I guess if there was a question about where topless protests are on the scale of acceptable actions, we have plumbed that one.

 

terrytowel

Current Parl Sec for Public Safety Roxanne James (who is also pushing the Terror Bill C-51) got her start in politics as a member of

KTO - Keep Tops On

To protest women going topless

See link for more

http://bigcitylib.blogspot.ca/2008/09/tory-candidate-roxanne-james-veter...

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

On another note, my but this went stupid rather quickly, on several fronts.

Who was saying that naked protests aren't an effective means of getting attention?

(edit)

cross posted with you, alan. Do you really want to go there and start comparing notes? Thing is, I don't need to put murder in scare quotes.

Our system needs an overhaul. When less than 40% of a vote gives someone unquestionable power to the point of dictatorship and completely dismissing the will of the majority,we have a fundamental problem.

This will continue because the populace is far too docile and complacent.

We need to remind our 'leaders' and their minions that they work for US,not the other way around.

cassius

Topless tactics did nothing for the Doukhobors and it'll do nothing this time either except stigmatize opponents of C-51 as a bunch of boobs. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Slumberjack

alan smithee wrote:
Our system needs an overhaul. When less than 40% of a vote gives someone unquestionable power to the point of dictatorship and completely dismissing the will of the majority,we have a fundamental problem.

The problem was there right from the beginning.  It just needed the rise of a third contender in the political mix to reveal the extent of it.  What is most telling about the qualities that this system recognizes and bestows validity upon is that any two parties out of the three are quite willing to allow the majority of the voters in this country to be ruled over by the minority opinion, instead of setting aside partisanship for the greater good.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

alan smithee wrote:
Our system needs an overhaul. When less than 40% of a vote gives someone unquestionable power to the point of dictatorship and completely dismissing the will of the majority,we have a fundamental problem.

The problem was there right from the beginning.  It just needed the rise of a third contender in the political mix to reveal the extent of it.  What is most telling about the qualities that this system recognizes and bestows validity upon is that any two parties out of the three are quite willing to allow the majority of the voters in this country to be ruled over by the minority opinion, instead of setting aside partisanship for the greater good.

So what do we do? Wait for the ruling class to govern in fairness? I don't see that happening.

Do we protest? If so,can we expect they will listen?

How about civil disobedience? Or do we burn our cities down to the ground?

I'm just looking for solutions. Anyone got one?

Caissa

Is this discussion in keeping with the Femism Forum?

terrytowel

Caissa wrote:

Is this discussion in keeping with the Femism Forum?

The group calls itself a FEMINIST group. The goal in using their bodies is to protest the objectification of a woman's body in the media.

So yeah since this is a feminist group, it should be in thsi forum.

If we had LGBT political topics, wouldn't it belong in the LGBT forum?

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I think Caissa may have been making the point that the discussion is now, de facto, dudes discussing whether or not it's time to crack some heads, rather than a discussion of Femen.

terrytowel

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I think Caissa may have been making the point that the discussion is now, de facto, dudes discussing whether or not it's time to crack some heads, rather than a discussion of Femen.

I'm wondering WHY the women of rabble are not chiming in on this discussion.

6079_Smith_W

Timebandit spoke here, lagatta in the other thread.

Slumberjack

I simply forgot where I was, considering there are two threads on the topic.  I'll try and respond to Alan's question over at the Smash the Vote thread.  Unfortunately not straight away though.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Thanks,SJ.

I didn't realize this was in a feminist forum. Wrong place for this discussion.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I think Caissa may have been making the point that the discussion is now, de facto, dudes discussing whether or not it's time to crack some heads, rather than a discussion of Femen.

Thanks, Magoo.