Topless Femen activists launch feminist training camp in Paris

The Femen, the infamous Ukrainian feminists known for their topless protests, have launched an “international training camp” in Paris to teach a new generation of women to fight sexism.

The group has set up shop at a former theater in the French capital’s Goutte d'Or district.

A leather punching bag is surrounded by Femen slogans like "Nudity is freedom" and “I am a woman, not an object.”

"Soldiers will be born here, but they will not be French soldiers,” said Inna Shevchenko, 22, according to the Guardian. “They will be feminist soldiers, international soldiers.”

The Femen were founded in 2008 to protest sexism and sex trafficking in the Ukraine. They gained notoriety for demonstrating topless, with rallying cries like “I am free” and “naked war” painted on their bodies.

They crashed religious events, as well as the 2012 Olympics in London, and Shevchenko took a chainsaw to a giant cross in public after members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot were jailed.

The chainsaw stunt led to Shevchenko being monitored by undercover agents, and she fled to France.

French feminists then suggested that the Femen establish a base in Paris. Before the invitation, Shevchenko said, “we thought of France as a first world and already feminist country that didn't really need us.”

Training at the new facility will be “moral but also physical,” Shevchenko said. “You have to be in good shape, because at protests you may need to run away or attack the police or jump on a building or a car.”

But despite the warlike atmosphere at the training camp, she said the Femen are fighting a “peaceful war.”

"We are taking off our clothes so people can see that we have no weapons except our bodies,” she explained. “It's a powerful way to fight in a man's world. We live with men's domination and this is the only way to provoke them, the only way to get attention.”

The group plans to open another training camp in its home base of Kyiv, and a third in Brazil before the 2016 Olympics, according to the Guardian.


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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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