If you’re skeptical of FEMEN, you should watch this

by Grania Spingies

FEMEN and Inna Shevchenko are often treated as pariahs by the very people who claim to champion the causes this group fights for. FEMEN was born in Ukraine as a reaction to that country’s exploitation of women in the sex industry, as well as to other global issues: dictatorships, oppression of women by religions, and the entanglment of church and state.

The group has at times come in for a lot of criticism—not only from their natural enemies (the women in FEMEN have been arrested and tortured) but also from their natural allies who (let’s be frank here) appear to be overcome by an attack of Victorian prudishness.

The Rubin Report on Ora TV has just released an interview with Inna Shevchenko; you can catch it on their website or on YouTube. Inna is passionate and articulate, and covers a range of subjects. She describes the lowly origins of the group and admits to initially having had serious reservations about FEMEN’s decision to go topless. She and Dave Rubin also discuss subjects ranging from the Charlie Hebdo massacre (she knew all the cartoonists) to the recent attacks in Cologne—as well as the baffling response to these events by certain supposedly liberal and left-leaning people.


The interview is very much worth your time, and might change your mind about FEMEN. Oh, and if you’re not following The Rubin Report, you should be. It’s a refreshing change from most Left-wing and Right-wing channels, as Rubin favors discussing ideas above promoting ideologies.

Part 1 (14 minutes):

Part 2 (23 minutes):

Part 3 (16 minutes):

And since reader infiniteimprobabilit reminded me of this photo in the comments below, I’ll sneak in some self-aggrandizing. This was in Paris Match:




  1. Merilee
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink


    • GBJames
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink


  2. nicky
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Inna, contrary the Trump, *really* says how it is.
    Thank you for this. Really liked it.

  3. TheDoxieTruth
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I love The Rubin Report! Will definitely check out this interview.

  4. Ben Carrion
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Who is skeptical of FEMEN?

    • mordacious1
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      From the pictures I’ve seen of FEMEN, it appears to me that they have little to no support.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Some of the opposition to them is detailed on their Wikipedia page (first link in this article).

      They get hate from both sides: obvious misogynists who think women have no right to protest and a more “moderate” disapproval from liberals who ironically and hypocritically buy into the same thought-processes as their more parochially-minded adversaries: that women who are not dressed conservatively cannot be taken seriously.

      • Son of Kyuss
        Posted March 4, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        You hit the nail on the head. Horseshoe theory.

  5. fjordaniv
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    This reminds me of an article published in Syracuse University’s Daily Orange last year in which the author accuses FEMEN protesters of oppressing Muslim women by disrupting a conference in Paris. One of the discussions centered around husbands’ rights to rape and physically discipline their wives.

    As is so often the case, the article descends into self-parody from the opening sentence, but it expresses the vary criticism discussed in the videos.

    Here’s the link: http://dailyorange.com/2015/09/colvin-organizations-anti-religion-agenda-oppresses-excludes-women/

    • fjordaniv
      Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      *very criticism

      • Rose
        Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Femen is also attacked for being insensitive to Islam on our Broadcasters religious site
        eg “Women’s rights are the victims of Femen’s feigned outrage – Opinion by Susan Carland 11 April 2013

        Our ABC – (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has got pro religious from around 2008 – especially Scott Stephens The Moral Minefield and particularly The Religion and Ethics portal (http://www.abc.net.au/religion/) its chock full of religious apologism bashing selfish secular capitalist society and science. The angle is secularism is selfish and consumerist and the site was set up by Scott Stephens who is a former Uniting Church Minister.

  6. Cormac Kinsella
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Enjoyed these – for me she particularly nailed it on the final video when talking about the failure of the left to speak out when facing non-PC uncomfortable truths. It’s a kind of cognitive dissonance stemming from adherence to cherished views in the face of what’s actually happening. That failure to think and speak critically will ultimately hand the speaking platform to the far right, who aren’t afraid of bad press.

  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Here, for anyone who speaks French, is the Paris Match article/interview from which the pic of Inna holding a copy of FVF (featured in a column by PCC a while ago) was taken.


    (Oh, and being French, the photo of the FEMENists walking down the street has not been pixellated!)


    • Posted March 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      I may have posted that before, but it’s too cool not to post again. I’ll put it above the fold. Thanks for reminding me.

  8. Victoria
    Posted March 4, 2016 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    FEMEN are as brave as media-establishment feminists like Jessica “Full Frontal Feminism” Valenti are cowardly. Valenti is unwilling to even say that non-Western women have it worse in general than those of us in the West. And yet that almost jaw-dropping lack of perspective is what the Guardian embraces as authentic feminism.

    Even Amnada Marcotte, the one media-visible feminist I might expect to break ranks, has never to the best of my knowledge published an article condemn Islamic misogyny.

    Thou shall not criticize Islam!

  9. Craw
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    I object to their attempts to control the sex lives of other women. Shouldn’t a woman have control of her own body, be free to control her own sex life?

  10. Rose
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Also the left just hate it that Femen comes out of the former Soviet countries and Soviet heartland almost (Ukraine, Beleoruss) at that and have a history of protesting the patriarchal culture and traditional Eastern Christianity of those countries – and point out the patriarchy never really waned under communism. This rudeness of Femen is not on – all evil is supposed to come from western capitalism and now they have the effrontery to offend the traditionalism of non Western religions. Which is not to say there aren’t plenty of evils in capitalism. Nearly all the left these days effectively undermine the Enlightenment except for a few splinters that are genuinely pro enlightenment some of the rest think they actually defend the Enlightenment. They may have humanist values but they are simply so naive and resistant to realities and context in application of this that they wind up playing to the historically dominant – traditionalist neanderthal values that always take over in times of dire scarcity and instability. Only technology and relative means over environmental circumstances has overcome this and now we want to trash it for Political correctness and misplaced idealism.

    We’ve got great power tensions again on the rise, Islamism on the rise and global warming. We won’t let Muslim countries discover for themselves the consequences of the extremism of their religion and not modernising it – appalling sectarian infighting which in the globalised world they can’t diffuse with an endlessly expanding Caliphate, not least because medieval islam is so utterly incompatible with establishing and maintaining advanced technological culture (or empire if thats what they want) and they’re gonna need help from the rest of the world to survive with such a big population. I know western foreign policy hasn’t been wonderful but nearly all the ills of the Muslim world have been based on sectarian infighting. Instead the left tell the Muslim world their problems are all the fault of the West, or assume its the West’s responsibility to fix whereupon everything that goes wrong is blamed on the west. We have to keep point out within and without the West that Enlightenment values are messy, we are very far from perfect but we will defend those values and people who seek to destroy them ultimately only hurt themselves.

  11. Jerry Tarone
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The Rubin Report is also available via podcast on iTunes, and this episode is available for downloading. It’s the 24th episode.

  12. Jerry Tarone
    Posted March 5, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    An atheist in Russia faces the possibility of a year in prison because he said online that there is no God. It’s illegal to offend orthodox believers. One complained and Viktor Krasnov has already spent a month in a mental health facility by order of the court. The hospital pronounced him sane to stand trial.

    Just how frightening is that? Not only does he face trial, but his life is turned upsode down by being tossed into a mental health facility against his will for a month.
    Even if he wins the court case (which is unlikely, no free speech protections) the government can destroy you by tossing you in a nut house.
    People in this situation often lose their jobs and homes, being locked up unable to earn money and pay bills.

    This is how they used to destroy political dissidents. How ironic the once atheist state is now going after the atheists.


  13. Posted March 6, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Well, count me as not just a skeptic, but a critic of FEMEN. Notably their stance supporting across-the-board banning of sex work and pornography, quite in contrast to their “sexy” image. I hardly think that makes me a “Victorian prude”.

    I support decriminalization of sex work and the movement for sex workers rights that’s organized by and for actual sex workers, on the general principal of “Nothing About Us Without Us”.

    Does that make me “regressive” now? Ridiculous.

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