FEMEN Stages Topless Jihad: “I own my body; it’s not the source of anyone’s honor.”

Via elephant journal
on Apr 5, 2013
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Femen protest.

What we deem “offensive” says much about our values.

No doubt, there may be some who find the photos below offensive. I challenge you, though, to take a minute and consider the larger picture here.

Amina Tyler, Tunisian feminist activist, sparked a controversy a few weeks ago by posting semi-naked pictures of herself with these words painted on her chest:

“I own my body; it’s not the source of anyone’s honor.”

Tyler, the leader of the Tunisian branch of Ukrainian-based feminist group FEMEN, is speaking out against the patriarchal extremes of some radical Muslim groups that want to overturn the current polygamy ban and return to Shari’ah law.

The reaction by her government has been severe. Adel Almi, founding president of The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has led charge against Tyler, calling for extreme measures to be taken. Almi called for the girl to receive “80 to 100 lashes under Islamic law, further stating that due to the severity of her act, she deserves to be punished with rajm i.e. being stoned to death. ‘Her act could bring about an epidemic. It could be contagious and give ideas to other women. It is therefore necessary to isolate [the incident].'”

In the U.S., and most Western nations, we have the luxury of ignoring these things. We often look with a passing glance and move on about our day. And there are many who look at these photos and cry, “offensive!”

Here is what is offensive, to me:

When we spend our time, money and energy on things that keep us inward focused, to the neglect of the world around us.

When how our asses look in mass-produced yoga pants is a bigger concern than what is going on in our legislature.

When we will take time to look at, leer at and pick apart a Playboy video, but turn a blind eye to women who are baring their breasts to try and gain equality.

When we find time for funny cat videos and girls hula hooping, yet taking the two minutes to sign a petition seems too difficult.

Whether you agree with the intentions of the women protesting with FEMEN or not, let’s take time and remember that we are a community that has massive resources and potential to effect change. If the idea that this young woman may be stoned to death for standing up for the rights of women in her country, don’t just move on to the next article.

Petition Amnesty International in Tunisia to come to her aid.



“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [and women] do nothing. ” ~ Edmund Burke


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7 Responses to “FEMEN Stages Topless Jihad: “I own my body; it’s not the source of anyone’s honor.””

  1. LLabon says:

    LOVE this. Thank you for sharing it and reminding everyone how important this is for us all. We are all connected and we can do something about this. Just picking up the phone makes a difference. Just turning our concern to an obvious injustice makes a difference. thank you.

  2. steven says:

    i was supportive until i saw the pictures of the cross being cut in half and F*** church. It's to bad they have a great cause, but have to bring religion into.

  3. Thaddeus1 says:

    This is a complex situation for sure. Seems some of the "oppressed" are not down with FEMEN.

  4. Milton says:

    Often religion oppresses women yet I don't see as many people complaining about that.

  5. I agree, it's complex. I also think most Americans lump what it means to be Muslim into one big stew, if we have any ideas about it at all! They don't strike me as Islamaphobes, as much as fed up with certain patriarchal and abuse aspects that are present in some facets of Muslim culture.

  6. Thaddeus1 says:

    I wasn't getting all the Islamphobes stuff either at first, but then I saw this.


    However, wherever we fall on the issue of Islamphobia within this context, FEMEN still needs to address the orientalist and oppressive orientated responses to their detractors. Referring to those you are attempting to "free" as "Stupid muslim women. Made brainless by Quran" and "Stupid slaves!" probably means you're not really firing on all equality cylinders.

    Also carrying signs which read "Bare Breast against Islamism," is not likely to inspire those who find Islam an important part of their lives. (see this link for the pic… http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201304050033-00

  7. PanOptikum says:

    the problem with Femen is, that they use nudity as a cover against their agenda against men. It's like a shield. saying: we are naked, everybody who is gainst us, is against naked bodies.

    I can not agree with an organization, that has a picture on their website calles "Sextremism", showing a Femen with a bloddy sickle and a cut of scrotum: http://wikimannia.org/images/Femen-Sichel.jpg (the Femen website is down)
    I can not agree with women that state these things in an (german) inteview of ZEIT (http://www.zeit.de/sport/2012-06/interview-femen-ukraine-protest/seite-2)

    ZEIT ONLINE: Was steht am Ende Ihrer Revolution? / What is the goal of your revoluton?
    Schewtschenko: Das Matriarchat, das hoffe ich doch. / Matriarchy, I hope so.
    ZEIT ONLINE: Wann ist es soweit? / When will that happen?
    Schewtschenko: Ich weiß es nicht genau, vielleicht 2017, genau hundert Jahre nach jener russischen Revolution, die die Zarenherrschaft beendete. Wenn es so weit ist, müssen wir kämpfen. Dann wird wieder Blut fließen. Die Revolution wird brutal. / I am not sure, maybe 2017, 100 years after the Russian revolution that ended the ruling of the czar. When it starts, we have to fight. Then blood will be spilled again. The revolution will be brutal.
    ZEIT ONLINE: Wessen Blut? / Who's blood?
    Schewtschenko: Das der Männer. / That of men.

    Other acts of pure destructive lust and open aggression can be found in the recent history of Femen if you cann see behind the naked truth.