Sunday, 7 April 2013

Topless Jihad Day

Femen outside a Berlin mosque. (source:
This week my favourite angry feminists declared Thursday 4 April Topless Jihad Day.

The Ukranian-based radical feminist group Femen, announced a jihad on Islamic attitudes to women and their bodies - the attitude that says that women need to keep themselves covered so as not to tempt men.

Protests around the world

Activists in Paris, Berlin, Rio, Milan, San Francisco and Montreal bared their breasts, painted with slogans, outside Tunisian embassies and mosques.

The protests were in support of Tunisian student Amina Tyler, who last month posted topless photos of herself on Facebook, with the slogans 'Fuck Your Morals' and 'My Body Belongs To Me, And Is Not The Source Of Anyone’s Honor' painted on her body. This was not popular.

Islamist hackers responded with an attack on Femen's Tunisian Facebook page, replacing topless photos with quotes from the Quran. Tyler was threatened with death by stoning.

Montreal (source:

Is the extreme way the right way?

I'm not an extremist, and I'm not sure how far this particular protest is really helping promote equality for Islam women. It has been argued that the nature of their protests could actually set back the cause they are fighting for in the Middle East, which would be hugely sad for millions of women. 

But let's not forget that when it comes to equality, the softly softly approach often just doesn't work. 

Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow Suffragettes were extremists - and if they hadn't used extreme tactics it's very unlikely that we would have reached the level of equality we have today in the UK. Maybe we would have achieved the vote by now - just - but I'm guessing that things like maternity leave and equal pay would still be distant dreams. 

Sometimes you need to fight to get what you're owed. And equality between the genders is something we're owed worldwide. 


One of the many great things about Femen, is that they are pretty much guaranteed good coverage (coverage, get it?), because what newspaper will pass up the opportunity to publish a photo of an attractive woman baring her breasts in the middle of the city, for a political ends? You don't often get politics and boobs in one snap. 

Some of the coverage they get may be gratuitous, but their message, that women's bodies belong to them, and them only, is not. Whether you agree with the way they operate or not, you have to admire them for having the balls, or tits, to stand up for what they believe. 

1 comment:

  1. Well, it seems to me like in order to effect change in perceptions and political control, the extremes need to be expressed, and then some sort of common ground agreed between them. Mainly for the publicity, I suppose. But if politicians look at the A) stoning threat and B) naked angry display, they'll pick a middle ground.
    But if they're showed A) a stoning threat, and B) a mild grumbling by mildly angry and mildly clothed women, the middle ground they choose will be closer to the jihadists' point of view.
    I like it when people argue passionately - I think it's good for humankind.
    Although in this case it's difficult when we have decency laws to contend with. The suffragettes weren't in any legal danger when chaining themselves to railings.