Best of the Rest: FEMEN’s Anna Gutsol

I have been spreading this post like wildfire since I discovered it on Natalia’s site this morning.

It is fantastic, revolutionary, aggressively savvy and the variety of feminism that I dream will one day take root in Britain.

I utterly abhor the negative connotations of feminism: reading feminist blogs from the Middle East and Europe I am struck by the relevance, urgency and potency of the ideology and movement.

In fact, I find it impossible to be a woman and not care about feminism.

However, mention you are a feminist in Britain and you will be greeted by smirks from men and women alike.

The image of dungarees, hairy underarms, man-hating and general butchness continues to prevail after decades, much to my consternation.

Groups like FEMEN are crucial in conveying not just important messages pertaining to women’s rights in Ukraine, but in offering a template for contemporary feminist organizations.

It rankled greatly each time Natalia has been subjected to another volley of abuse for wearing a tank top or a dress that [gasp!] has revealed flesh.

Being a feminist is not akin to becoming a nun: thou shalt cover up, eschew the male sex and demur from all pleasures of the flesh, etcetera et ad nauseum.

In contrast, it is the embracement of all of the above – on our terms as women – that render us feminists.

We should be able to dress glamourously, court controversy and spur debate according to our agenda.

Last month, riding in the car, an interview popped up on the radio with a woman who claimed to be reintroducing feminism to Britain’s young women.

Her manifesto ran as follows: the man should clean the bathroom, women should be allowed to pamper themselves with the girls, men should wash up…

And so it went on. And on.

Her reedy voice trembling with excitement at the idea of a man holding marigolds being the herald of feminism’s resurrection in Albion induced complete apoplexy on my part.

This is not feminism: the debate no longer centers on picking up socks or doing the washing up.

It is about equal pay, equal rights, asserting independence with impunity, hollering “nay!” to the banality of convention and being valued for our intelligence, fortitude and emotional capacity as women, rather than as mere receptacles of pleasure.

Of course, should we choose to also be receptacles of pleasure, that is also fine – providing the choice is there.

That is the crux: feminism is choice.

It is not about a man with a loo brush; it is about women with freedom.

And that is why I am utterly smitten with organizations such as FEMEN: for they are the future of feminism.

2 comments on “Best of the Rest: FEMEN’s Anna Gutsol

  1. ms anthro
    September 26, 2009

    The irony of the feminist movement against sex tourism in the Ukraine is that the feminists will do more lasting damage than the sex trade ever will.
    Feminism is a curse on ever society it has taken hold in…

  2. The Emperor
    November 28, 2009

    Femen is the only feminist group I agree with and respect.

    Unfortunately, it seems that Radical feminists are the leaders of the movement and they do not have the mental capacity or common sense to realize that their ideology is causing more harm than good to themselves, because men are refusing to marry because of the legacy of the family courts as well being told by women that they don’t need men (except for alimony, child support and mooching of his pension despite the divorce)

    Being feminine is the most powerful weapon in a woman’s arsenal. A Ukrainian women will get more out a man by being feminine like asking her husband to take out the trash by complimenting him or offering a nice reward instead of nagging or belittling him.

    My ex-girlfriend hated it when I would look at other women because they actually dressed sexy with skirts, dresses and open toe heels/sandals with make-up instead of sweat pants, sneakers and a t-shirt. She is currently having this problem with the guy she is now married to.

    And Ms Anthro, how will Femen damage the feminist movement in Ukraine? Think about it. What will attract more attention? Beautiful feminine women or masculine, man-hating unattractive women?

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2009 by in Best of the Rest, Culture, Europe, Pop culture, Womyn and tagged , , , , , , , .
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