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Femen and racism

(78 Posts)

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Yops Tue 15-Sep-15 17:57:30

I'd have thought that Western white women (as a class) are viewed by Black feminists in much the same way as many of the feminists on FWR view men (as a class). That is with a mixture of suspicion and exasperation, even when trying to do the right thing. Because whatever you try to do, you are still perceived as part of the problem class.

The last thread about women of colour on here was one of the best I have read on here, with it's insightfulness and home truths.

The very little I have seem of Femen is interesting though. Some of them stormed a Muslim conference in France recently, and got a kicking for their troubles. The subject being presented to the audience at the time? "When is it acceptable to beat your wife'. confused

Anyway, enough of my 'splaining. I hope this goes well, Buffy. Should be interesting reading.

MephistophelesApprentice Wed 16-Sep-15 10:36:09

The desire to spread women's rights, as interpreted by the West, is essentially cultural imperialism.

Which always made me wonder; is such imperialism really a bad thing?

BigChocFrenzy Wed 16-Sep-15 23:55:01

I think Femen are a breath of fresh air, defending women's rights.
Astonishingly brave too, stripping off to confront sometimes quite dangerous men. It's scary enough to risk a beating, even worse when topless.

They are my heroes: Boobs instead of bombs !

Violence and discrimination against women should always be challenged, regardless of whether the perpetrators believe in a Grand Old Party (USA Republicans) or a Sky Fairy (misogynists world-wide) and regardless of whether perpetrator and victim are the same race.

We shouldn't accept that issues like FGM, sex slaves as war booty, wife-beating can ever be ok.
Defend our sisters !

HapShawl Thu 17-Sep-15 06:11:16

Indeed yops, I now have minimal interest in discussing women's rights and liberation with men, because the vast majority simply don't listen and it takes more energy than I have to give. I know there are a good deal of feminists of colour who feel the same about white feminists and that response is understandable

Back to the OP, I have only heard of Femen in the last few days. I think there are two strands - that in the west feminism should not be for the benefit of white women solely (as though there are only white women or even feminists in the west!), and in terms of other regions being allies to those local individual women and women's groups who are doing extraordinary work for the advancement of women's welfare and rights in their regions but who often get overlooked or taken over by the west (in general) IME

damselinthisdress Thu 17-Sep-15 06:27:09

The last thread about women of colour on here was one of the best I have read on here, with it's insightfulness and home truths.

Do you have a link, Yobs? I avoid the feminism boards on MN for the exact reason that people have posted on this thread, but would like to have a look at that thread, if possible.

PlaysWellWithOthers Thu 17-Sep-15 07:15:17

Link here

scallopsrgreat Thu 17-Sep-15 14:20:12

Femen was aided heavily in its foundation by a man. Appropriation is occurring on a number of levels. This isn't the first time Femen have been accused of racism (or appropriation).

I think Nagarajan raises a good point. There has also been a lot of positioning in the media that has eradicated the work muslim feminists already do - as if they didn't exist. So the discussion is framed around "we must save them".

I also agree with BigChocFrenzy about how brave the women are. They are risking increased violence from men. Didn't they storm a conference that was going to discuss violence against women within relationships (amongst other things)? From a starting position of whether it should be allowed hmm.

Having said all that I don't think that women's liberation is ever going to come from taking our clothes off and the fact that this organisation was started with massive input from a man makes me even more sceptical on that front! So I'm not sure, and I'll be honest here, if I would have noticed what Nagarajan is saying if I didn't already dislike Femen's methods. Would I have thought it was appropriation if I agreed with their methods? Probably, but more likely would have needed it pointing out.

HomeHelpMeGawd Thu 17-Sep-15 14:37:38

I thought I remembered a Femen activist saying that there had been a long and vigorous discussion among Femen members about whether topless and unclothed protest was the right direction? So even if a man were involved, I think it is wrong to deny the agency of the women who also made that initial decision and who continue to make subsequent decisions to join the protest. They are not decisions made lightly or without anticipation for how the gestures could be misappropriated.

I also find the use of the phrase "the west" a bit odd. The movement started in Ukraine, whose status as part of the west is under dispute, to put it mildly! It has, of course, spread, and more to the west than elsewhere, but it has nonetheless spread to other countries, including majority muslim countries. And those women in those countries too have agency.

scallopsrgreat Thu 17-Sep-15 14:46:20

I never said they didn't have agency (although agency is within context). It just doesn't surprise me either that a man would be supporting that agency, in this instance.

HomeHelpMeGawd Thu 17-Sep-15 15:03:18

But, unless I'm completely misreading your previous statement, you were raising the involvement of a man in the foundation of Femen to indicate that feminists should be wary of it because of his involvement.

If that's a fair reflection of what you were saying, then I'm saying the fact of the man's involvement should not detract from the womens' deliberations and actions. Agency is of course within context, but these women know that as well as we do.

If it's not a fair reflection, then first off, I'm sorry! Second, can you say more about what lies behind your prior post?

scallopsrgreat Thu 17-Sep-15 17:22:44

It shouldn't detract from women's actions, no. But we live in a patriarchy. A patriarchy where men objectify women. It's not unreasonable to suggest that may have some influence.

scallopsrgreat Thu 17-Sep-15 17:24:46

Choice and agency doesn't happen in a vacuum.

scallopsrgreat Thu 17-Sep-15 17:37:21

I also think any feminist organisation with a man towards it's front should be one to be wary of. He was involved in the decision making processes at some level. I don't know if that is suggesting the women don't have agency, I would say their agency was reduced by the presence of man who appeared to be needed to make it all happen.

CheezyBlasters Thu 17-Sep-15 17:44:49

To be honest, all of this is making me want to shoot myself in the head. Is there some kind of secret society going on?

scallopsrgreat Thu 17-Sep-15 17:51:46

And sorry for the multiple posts, but my original thoughts were that if they were offering some other kind of activism like direct naming and protesting of male violence or something more radical like removing women's unpaid labour from men's lives that he may not have been so quick to support. My thoughts were more around his motives and actions rather than the women involved.

damselinthisdress Thu 17-Sep-15 17:55:18

Thank you payswell

CheezyBlasters Fri 18-Sep-15 08:49:28

buffy, why not, then, come on to the thread that was discussing it, all day, and say what you think the the issues are, rather than make proclamations like some lord god almighty? I and I expect others would have been interested to hear.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CheezyBlasters Fri 18-Sep-15 09:03:25

Do not worry about it, then. I too have limited access. If you are away, be away, why post at all?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YonicScrewdriver Fri 18-Sep-15 09:17:07

Wow, Cheezy. People post on MN and have to also do RL. Not a huge surprise, it's an Internet forum primarily populated by women with plenty of other things to do.

msrisotto Fri 18-Sep-15 09:17:54

wtf are you on about cheezy? Lets get back on topic shall we instead of getting personal?

YonicScrewdriver Fri 18-Sep-15 09:27:16

FYI, Cheezy, Buffy started this thread the day before the AIBU I assume you are talking about:

YonicScrewdriver Fri 18-Sep-15 09:28:50

And how is this a "proclamation"?

I personally don't think Femen's activism is that helpful, but I'd like to learn more about what's happening in this backlash and how white women might support the struggles mentioned here. Maybe we can chat about this, in similar vein to the feminism for women of colour thread we had going a while back?

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