FEMEN Tackles Radical Feminism... While Topless!

Feminist group FEMEN makes headlines for their topless protests. But how effective are they?

femen topless protests
(Image credit: Archives)

Protestors for women's rights have been taking drastic measures to support their cause since British suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst led hunger strikes and chained herself to the railings outside parliament in the early 20th century. Avid feminists continue to spark controversy today, most recently with the bare-breasted protests of feminist group FEMEN.

The group, which is Ukrainian-founded and based in Kiev and Paris, describes themselves as "fighting patriarchy in its three manifestations — sexual exploitation of women, dictatorship and religion." The protests these self-dubbed "sexremists" led aren't peaceful: Women have jumped on official's cars, slammed Islam, and been arrested for their efforts—all while topless.

The group has a large online following including thousands of Twitter and Facebook followers, and a frequently updated, extensive website. This has given them plenty of media spotlight for their outlandish efforts. While they've gained significant attention, how effective are their protests? Karima Brini, founder of Femme et citoyenneté, a Tunisian association for women and citizenship, claims that protests such as these can do more harm then good, as the general public will associate these radical acts with organizations peacefully working for women's rights.

Do you think that these protests do more harm than good? Sound off in the comments below!

I'm an Associate Editor at the Business of Fashion, where I edit and write stories about the fashion and beauty industries. Previously, I was the brand editor at Adweek, where I was the lead editor for Adweek's brand and retail coverage. Before my switch to business journalism, I was a writer/reporter at PEOPLE.com, where I wrote news posts, galleries and articles for PEOPLE magazine's website. My work has been published on TheAtlantic.com, ELLE.com, MarieClaire.com, PEOPLE.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and in Every Day with Rachael Ray. It has been syndicated by Cosmopolitan.com, TIME.com, TravelandLeisure.com and GoodHousekeeping.com, among other publications. Previously, I've worked at VOGUE.com, ELLE.com, and MarieClaire.com.