Even If the Patriarchy Is Laughing at Us Today, It Will Cry in Front of Us Tomorrow!
Femen is a women’s movement with women’s ideas, women’s slogans, women’s bravery, women’s actions – we are not run by man.
Last week the world condemned Femen for being not authentic feminists movement. All started with the documentary about Femen history in Ukraine, Ukraine Is Not a Brothel that was presented at Venice Film Festival in Italy last week.
Femen critics and the brutal media world got what they were waiting for – a real scandal and, of course, a chance to turn the information to condemn the movement.
We have been told that we are not feminists, that our fight is not real, that our ideas are fake. They criticise us for fighting male domination in our personal life.
To those who spread the information that man is a founder of Femen, that he is the creator of our ideology, that he picks up girls he likes, I advise you to calm down as it’s nothing else but just a lie. The news about the fact that there was a man in Femen was immediately transformed into nonsense things.
The idea that “a man created Femen for sexual pleasure” was made out of “all men are partly doing everything in life for sex” (a quote of Kitty Green from a conversation with Viktor). “Man in Femen calls activists stupid and weak” was made out of Viktor saying that “all women in this society are weak, they even don’t want to be strong… Thats why I had to teach them.”
I watched the film three times, i objectively tried to find all other bullshit that’s in the media and, I’m sorry dear critics, but there is nothing like that that in the film. Those rumours shared in the media are a great illustration of how patriarchal ideas are still deep inside heads even of intellectual journalists.
The film is the story that we chose to tell to the world. It’s us, Femen activists, who allowed Kitty Green to shoot inner life of the movement and it’s us who tell and comment it to her camera. I wish all people who write about the film would watch it before giving their comment.
Yes, Viktor Svyatski was part of the Femen movement. He is not a founder of Femen, nor a creator of our topless strategy and ideology. He was trying to get a control of the movement and he is not a part of Femen anymore. This story is about how the movement was building in Ukraine and how the struggle began.
Femen was founded by group of young female students in a culture in which men talk and women listen; in which men decide and women accept their decisions; in which men dominate and women accept that domination. And this explains why Svyatski could become Femen’s leader. After Femen became a known movement in Ukraine, Svyatski, a supporter, took control of Femen’s team. He was a man in a women’s group, he was elder, smarter. And us, those who were at the first stage of our feminism and activism, we were young and not experienced girls.
We created together a movement that had big potential to become a strong political group but we did it simply on our own, without masterminds behind. Being not experienced, being on the stage of learning feminism and activism, we were always happy to get good advice from supporters of the movement. This is how one of them, Viktor, came inside the group. First, he was an adviser and after he started to dominate. The story described in the film – and by Svyatski himself – amounts to nothing other than patriarchy. He is sexism, male domination, and oppression against women personified.
I remind everyone that Femen team was organised in Ukraine, the country with the best traditions of patriarchy. Following this tradition, Viktor wanted to dominate women. And us, at the beginning, we didn’t know how to resist and fight it. From that moment on, I realised that the patriarchy was not somewhere outside. It was right in front of us, in Femen’s office. And our global fight with patriarchy started with the fight in our own private life.
More then one year ago, Viktor was kicked out of the movement and doesn’t have any connection to it anymore.
This is when I decided to leave Ukraine for France to build a new Femen. A Femen in which women decide and follow their own ideas, not someone else’s demands. One year ago I started from the beginning again with new colleagues from France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Netherlands and Tunisia.
During the last year, we did one of the most important acts in the history of the movement: we started our open war with religious institutions when we cut down a Catholic cross in Kiev, when we attacked the Pope in the Vatican and when we started our historical anti Islamists campaign in Tunisia. We faced the biggest bastards of patriarchal system like Putin, patriarch Kirill, Silvio Berlusconi, Tunisia’s Ali Larayed. We were attacked by nationalists, our office in Paris was set on fire, our activists spent months in jail in Tunisia in the worst conditions, some of us are living in exile, we are permanently getting deaths threats. And you are all telling us now that we are not authentic? We are not real? You are saying it because we were fighting men’s domination not only in the street, but in our own Femen office?
We have come to the Venice Film Festival and I’m writing now here to tell our story because this is the patriarchal reality that we all live in. Criticising us for our fight against men’s domination in our own lives is like criticising the fight against all patriarchy in the world. Today we tell our story hoping that we can inspire women suffering the same oppression in their fight against it tomorrow.
Femen is a women’s power! You can keep criticising us but we will keep fighting. Even if patriarchy is laughing at us today, it will cry in front of us tomorrow!