What do you do to show your disappointment in an extreme dictator? P*ss on his face apparently.
At least that’s what five Ukrainian protesters did in the name of feminism outside of their country’s embassy in Paris, topless and squatting over photos of President Viktor Yanukovych. The activists’ central target in every campaign is patriotism and its total destruction, with religion, dictatorship and the sex industry as the three highest priorities caught in the cross hairs.
We are giving an alarm to Europe that we need help, and no one has to hear [Yanukovych’s] face. We just have to pee on his opinion. -Inna Shevchenko, leader of Femen
This protest is but one in an impressive series of stunts, many including nudity as the main means of grabbing the public’s attention. Femen, the organization behind the controversy, has received both support and criticism in response to their efforts; as the start of the movement was centered around opposition to the sex industry, many found the use of bare breasts ironic at best — and blindly hypocritical at worst.
Inna says her naked body now feels like a uniform, while Alexandra [co-founder of Femen] describes it as, "my weapon, my gun". -The Guardian
Currently, the group has set its sights on a number of other European countries as well as the United States, with New York or Washington, D.C. as primary suspects for settling grounds.
So here's the rub: for a group that hates male domination, religious influence and women used as sex objects ... coming to America could mean fireworks of epic proportions — how would our country respond to such outwardly aggressive protesting? Not since Vietnam have we had comparable public protests. We too will rally against hateful groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church, but Femen is a horse of a different color.
The U.S.’s liberal social attitudes encourage controversy (we thrive and are maybe even addicted to it) so there is a decided space for Femen’s voice to be heard hollering in the Good 'Ol US of A. The toss-up lies in the issue; Americans generally support the overthrow of dictators, but even our more liberal-lovin' coasts might see Inna Shevchenko’s saw cutting through a giant wooden cross in Ukraine as um, excessive.
Would the group’s extreme tactics foster an effective dialog across the pond, or might us Americans react dangerously to their overt criticisms (we are, after all, the country where you might be shot for texting in the movie theater.)
Another issue is the sheer breadth of subject matter covered by Femen — some could draw comparisons to the Occupy Wall Street criticism, citing a perceived lack of focus and an inability to execute change effectively (some say due to an over-reliance on the internet). Would the group’s presence fall into the same trap of media purgatory after an initial explosion onto the scene?
It seems only a matter of time until America is on the receiving end of a megaphone and a hot stream of urine. We'll have to decide if we like that.