Multiple channels of feminist issues converge in Germany’s Spiegel’s ‘The Entire Ukraine Is a Brothel’.
The personal is political, no matter how much Phyllis Schlafly hates the term. Who hasn’t seen the ads for ‘Romantic Tours’ to the Ukraine? Spiegel shares one story.
Win a Bride
Recently the Rock, New Zealand’s top radio station that doesn’t take much seriously besides music offered its male listeners 12 paid nights in the Ukraine, 2,ooo New Zealand dollars in pocket money and the chance to find a wife.
“Win a trip to beautiful Ukraine,” announces the contest title, “And Meet Eastern European Hot Lady Who Maybe One Day You Marry.” The Rock hooked up with Endless Love Agency and initially called the contest ‘Win a Wife’.
The contest logo shows the pixelated face of a bleach-blonde beauty. Her hair is adorned by a red headband, with a gift tag hanging from it as if she were a Christmas present.
Winner Greg hot trotted off to Ukraine, knowing his new dollie would meet him at the airport.
Inna gets dolled up to greet Greg, the bachelor from New Zealand. The blonde slips into her crocodile-skin high heels and shiny leather pants, and places a crown of flowers in her hair. Waiting in the arrival hall at Donetsk airport, she has a sign in hand with “Greg, come here” scrawled across it.
But it’s unlikely Greg would be able to overlook her: Her breasts are bare.
Femen | ‘Topless Fighters’
Meet Femen, a small group of ‘Topless Fighters’ who are fighting sex tourism and prostitution in Ukraine as members of Femen.
Little woman with red hair Anna Hutsol is the head of Femen. The 26-year-old economist sits in front of her laptop, directing her topless fighters with the help of two mobile phones.
Under new Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, Femen is under constant surveillance.
While Femen’s focus is body politics, they also seek democracy — which is losing ground in the Ukraine. Femen’s half-naked activists warned against the “Rape of Democracy” storming the polling station where presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich was casting his vote last year.
After winning, Yanukovich curbed freedom of speech and the press, and even imprisoned members of his opposition. Ukrainian intelligence visited Anna Hutsol’s apartment in summer 2010, threatening to break her arms and legs.
Femen survives on modest contributions from a handful of donors. German Helmut Josef Geier, better known as DJ Hell, supports the group. They also sell fan items on the Internet and auction small pieces of art. To produce the latter, the activists first paint their breasts yellow and blue, and then they make prints on cloth or canvas.
Old school feminists find Femen’s tactics demeaning to women, writes Spiegel. Facebook through the group out the door, but they are reinstated. This old-school feminist doesn’t find Femen degrading to women at all.
I first met Femen last week, posting a video of Femen protesting at Chernobyl as part of Bar Refaeli’s GQ Italia photo shoot.
A handful of donors support Femen. German Helmut Josef Geier, better known as DJ Hell, is an advocate. Femen sells fan items on the Internet and auctions small pieces of art made by painting their breasts yellow and blue, before making prints on cloth or canvas.
“I think men like women’s breasts,” says activist Inna Shevchenko, “but they don’t like it when a woman has something to say as well.” It’s not just other feminists who have expressed concerns about Femen’s exhibitionism. Facebook blocked the Femen page because officials there suspected it was pornographic. Inna’s mother no longer wants to have anything to do with her — she recently told her not to call her ever again.
Anna Hutsol will be traveling to Switzerland and Italy to establish contacts for Femen.
Femen, SlutWalks — Let Women Unite
This comes at a time when SlutWalks are also gaining momentum in America, Canada and other countries. This Anne will be marching in Philadelphia on June 18.
Over 2000 people turned out in Boston over the weekend, and SlutWalk London has more than 3,500 people ready to walk in Trafalgar Square on June 4, writes the BBC just now.
What we learned in Egypt this spring is that small matches start big bonfires.
The Republican War on Women is so severe in its scope, that women must push back or loose our rights in an inconceivable powerplay by Conservative men. The same Conservatives who demand that the federal government get off their backs seek to overturn women’s sexual rights in America.
The question is whether Femen, SlutWalks and all the other women’s rights groups are ready to march together internationally putting gender above national politics.
Anne of Carversville writes women’s stories ‘from fashion to flogging’ because it’s all connected. Smart Sensuality women are ‘smart, sexy and with heart’. We care deeply about women in every country of the world.
After 50 years of second-wave feminism that has not begun to treat women globally with any degree of respect, it’s time to put on our marching boots and join the growing movement for women’s rights around the world.
We have role models, especially in Scandinavia. Women’s equality can exist in societies that are thriving in more gender-balanced, progressive societies with economies that outperforming America’s. This is one old school feminist who is proud to join Femen and SlutWalks.
If this is the match that can light a movement, let’s not get caught up in rhetoric and mental masturbation. We’re losing our rights worldwide. As I wrote in the Lubna Hussein flogging case in Sudan — we are all prostitutes.