That ol’ devil called synchronicity..again!
Just as Harry was posting about generally reading his favourite paper online, I was…reading my favourite paper online!
And I picked up this story, about Femen activists, a group whose actions we at SLN have largely supported in their efforts to highlight the subjugation of women around the globe.
Members of the group (presumably those photographed, above) have been jailed for ‘indecency’.
And the sheer hypocrisy of the Algerian authorities is plain for all to read in the accompanying text! ‘In Islam we respect…(women)’, said one of the prosecutors. Really? You respect them through your patriarchal society telling them how they should behave? You demand they cover themselves from head to toe in support for their freedoms and equality? You deny them the same rights as men out of ‘respect’? Utter nonsense. As one commentator puts it, it’s the words of ‘swivel eyed theocratic loons’.
Granted, topless women will have the effect of causing offence in some situations, regardless of the religious nature of the country involved. In Spain, going nude in public is not, necessarily, an offence (that right is enshrined in the Spanish Constitution), but there are limits, you know? Not in a school playground, for example, or in front of a church while worshippers exit. There has to be a sense of not deliberately causing offence for offence’s sake.
There’s a fine line, of course.
If you aren’t living on that line, then protests aren’t going to get the media coverage required in order to highlight the cause. Topless is what Femen do.
This time, however, I wouldn’t nail my bra to the mast of ‘womens rights’ being fought for here. While ‘tits out’ certainly still has the power to create massive media coverage (yawn! They’re breasts…isn’t it time society -certainly in Europe- got over them) it seems a deliberately provocative act in a Muslim country. And not very well thought out. Swivel eyed feminist loons, in many respects.
Theoretically taking action against the gaoling of Amina Tyler, a Tunisian femen(ist) supporter…well, why not stage any protest in Tunisia, rather than Algeria? And painting ‘in prison for being feminist’ on your body isn’t quite right. While I’ve no issue whatsoever with posting topless photographs of yourself on the internet, with the words ‘f*** your morals’ emblazoned across your chest, I do have some issues with spraying words on walls of mosques (or cemeteries, depending on your source(s) of information). The mosque, additionally, is a World Heritage site. Classy. Show your feminist attributes by defacing World heritage. Whatever next? Blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan? Odd to think that Amina Tyler’s tactics are just smaller scale Taliban. Ironic, huh?
If you’re going to demand respect for women in patriarchal societies, then the first thing you need to do is show respect for other people’s sensitivities. Their religious sensitivities. Or their cultural ones. Otherwise, you become as bad as them. And if you can’t bring yourself to respect a mosque, then at least have the common decency to respect the dead. You don’t agree with patriarchy’s morals? Fine. Express yourself in the manner in which you did. You don’t agree with the need to respect religion or the dead, then you’ve lost me. Sorry.
The Femen poster reproduced above demands that Amina is freed. But on what grounds? Sure, she should be freed on the basis that going topless and disagreeing with a certain code of morality is a freedom of expression. Spraying on mosques (or cemeteries) isn’t freedom of expression. It’s desecration on different levels.
Bare breasted in public I have no problem with whatsoever. I think there should be equality in all societies where men and women can go topless with the same rights. Bare breasted protest to highlight inequalities I have no problem with, simply because they -breasts- retain a power to achieve media coverage (although that, in itself, strikes at the heart of Femen’s actions. What’s getting the coverage? The cause? Or the tits? We can probably remember certain Femen actions (against an amused Putin, against the Pope, for example) but what was the precise cause of protest? Can’t remember, can you?
Oh…that’s right. Feminist action.
Never mind ‘F*** your morals’, or ‘Free Amina’ or whatever. In this instance it’s a case of ‘f*** your stupid, ill-thought, moronic protests in support of what appears to be an idiotic provocateur’. And please don’t cry if Algeria locks your members up. You’re modern day Emily Pankhursts. Pankhurst did time in Holloway prison in her fight for female emancipation in Britain. Maybe some Femen protestors, if they’re going to be stupid about it, need to do the same in Algeria and not whine about it.
Sorry, Femen, but you’ve lost my support.
Pookes spells SLN’s message to Femen out loud and clear