Showing posts with label feminism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feminism. Show all posts

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bodies as billboards

These days, people often paint themselves with their colors.

They use their bodies as a support for the transmission of messages. In this case: "We're supporters of England." An oldtimer such as myself sees this widespread habit as something new. Our generation never did this. We didn't have enough imagination, or maybe we were prudish about the idea of using our bodies for such purposes. The young women of my generation—in Australia and later in Paris—hardly even used facial makeup. The idea of using the human body as a support for imagery is nevertheless ancient.

Five years, a young Ukrainian women, Anna Hutsol, gave body painting a fascinating new twist and revolutionized the impact of corporal messages through her creation of the Femen movement.

Since then, throughout the world, Femen adepts use their bare-breasted torsos as billboards for political statements, generally in the domain of women's rights. Here's a portrait of co-founder Sacha Chevchtchenko, with the Femen logo painted on her breasts:

Femen's initial vocation was radical feminism, including the fight against prostitution. These days, frequent targets of Femen activists include Islamists and dignitaries of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Recently, a courageous Femen-inspired action was carried out by 19-year-old Amina in Tunisia, whose naked breasts carried the message: "My body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone's honor."

Yesterday, the French branch of Femen complained in a tweet about the removal of the following provocative photo from their Facebook page:

Insofar as Femen bases its actions upon representations of semi-naked women, a thin line can separate some of their happenings from pure esthetics and spectacular eroticism. This is the case, I feel, concerning the above image.