Over the top might be the best way to describe FEMEN's latest protest tactics. The Ukrainian based conscience organization is known for using bare chested, mostly attractive, younger ladies as their signature stamp. A brilliant strategy, titties are a sure fire way to get press coverage and images. What price publicity?
While smoking cans and water devices and the like have cropped up as the group does its bidding both at home and elsewhere, violence and its reverberations are not emblematic of the group. Until now FEMEN has recognized that peaceful protest wins more allies in the long run. In addition, the use of aggressive strategies generally lowers the protestors to the same shelf as the protested.
Recently FEMEN took on Euro 2012. No not the playing of football per se, but the sex trade inequities associated with large gatherings of alcohol fueled male dominated events. Perhaps not the best place to play out a protest inasmuch as football is a sacrosanct going-on, the group made its point. The sex business and the sex trade is the world's dirty little secret. But nowhere in their demonstrations did FEMEN "kill", "strangle" or use "guns".
Perhaps the recent Colorada massacre, here in the USA, sensitizes for the moment the gun issue. So to see this image
is upsetting. Indeed! A pretty donna aiming her weapon at... Kirill? you? me? the world? DUCK!!
FEMEN is chafed with Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. The issues involve anti-Ukrainian actions by both the Church and Russia, in general. In particular, the Ukrainians do not want to be ruled by Kirill's Russian Church, but rather want to have their own Ukrainian based religious organization. Keeping in mind the tensions that exist in the now independent Ukraine when it comes to things Russian, such sticking points are unavoidable. Protest... yes, but killing, choking and guns?
Yana Zhdanova*, the FEMEN activist, was wearing the message "Kill Kirill". Harsh and inflammatory, such words stretch speech freedoms. The actual protest was seconds long and ultimately harmless. There was no way Yana was going to reach Kirill as he de-planed. Her goal was achieved as soon as she came into view, topless. Think this event gets any coverage with her clothed? Watch...
Her gambit went international in a jiffy. Awareness about the Ukrainians sensitivities are now much better known than the day before yesterday. Protest is, in reality, an exercise in information dissemination. The goal is to raise the rancor of enough people over the protest point to generate sufficient pressure to impact change.
With the overly agressive use of firearms, bad intentioned gestures and the word "kill", FEMEN has gone too far. Their messages are so well delivered by boobies and beauty, that their foray into more harmful and in-you face strategies will work in the disfavor of the organization. Maybe the old saw of use what works needs to be echoed and reverbbed.
Alright FEMEN, stop with the firearms, the stretched out choke hands and the use of the word KILL. Instead, use the shout-out FUCK! There's a word that works... in more ways than one.
* it must be pointed out that as Yana approahed the cloth man, she asserted, Free Pussy Riot. A protest musical group, Pussy Riot is imprisoned for a Putin protest performance... see more... http://www.pplume-blog.com/2012/07/pussy-riot-riot.html