Spiegel Online: Getting naked to change the world

Activists from Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN shout slogans and hold placards during a topless protest on February 1st, 2012, in Zurich against the Hockey world cup in 2014 in Belarus.

Oksana Shachko, a girl with a doll-like face, is supposed to go to prison for five years.
It's a cool spring Thursday in Ukraine as the 24-year-old walks through the streets of Kyiv with her attorney. She is wearing a leather jacket and black boots, and dangling an almost-finished cigarette between her fingers. Five years, because she bared her breasts in public once again.

The hearing at the Interior Ministry is at 5 p.m., and they are in a hurry. They walk past tall, brown and gray buildings from the Stalin era. They discuss ways to put a positive spin on the expression "kiss my ass," which is what Oksana said to the Indian ambassador. "It was a happy protest. A happy protest for the rights of Ukrainian women," Oksana finally says. She's decided it's what she will say in the hearing at the Interior Ministry.

Shachko is a Ukrainian women's rights activist, and her weapons are attached to her pale, petite body like the two halves of an apple.

Her weapons are the symbol of femininity, motherhood and sexuality, and filmmakers and marketers have used them millions of times to sell everything under the sun, from yogurt to vacuum cleaners. They have put Oksana and her fight onto cover pages around the world, and they've made her and her fellow activists into the cover girls of an international protest movement -- the icons of a naked rebellion.

Their supporters believe that by using these weapons, the women have invented a new feminism. Their critics say that they are turning themselves into pornography with these weapons.

Read the story here.


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The mission of the "FEMEN" movement is to create the most favourable conditions for the young women to join up into a social group with the general idea of the mutual support and social responsibility, helping to reveal the talents of each member of the movement.

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