FEMEN is a Ukrainian protest group based in Kiev that was founded  in 2008 by Anna Hutsol after she became attuned to the sad stories of Ukrainian woman duped by false promises from abroad. The group primarily consists of 18-20 year old female University students. They protests against sex tourists, sexism and other social ills. The organization became internationally known due to its unique way of protesting – as some of the protesters go topless.

Fortunately FEMEN agreed to do an exclusive interview with us. Please do note that the interview answers are "as-is" and might have gramamtical mistakes – especially since English is not their first language.

How did FEMEN start?

Femen: Femen was started 2 years ago as women movement that fought against sex-tourism and prostitution in Ukraine. In the process of acting we understood that our work is important and new for Ukrainian minds so we understood that we are the one who talk about women in our country. Then we decided to say to all the world that women should be in every area of life of the country like in politics, economics and culture. That’s why now we became the voice of strong women who wants to say that they have power to be free and have rights to develop themselves.

Is Anna Hutsol still actively involved in FEMEN?

Femen: Yes, Anna is still actively involved in Femen and like from beginning she is the leader of our movement.

How many members do you have? Do you have any male members too?

Femen: WE have near 300 members in the Kiev – 50 from them are the main activists and 20 girls are topless-protesters. We have also many girls in other towns of Ukraine who wants to do Femen in their places. We also have men who help us sometimes. 

How does FEMEN work? What all does it take to do a protest?

Femen: We live in the country with so many problems, in the country where people are not  ready to fight for their rights that’s why protest is our work for everyday. We meet talk about problem then we find the strategy of acting, preparing posters and then we go to fight. Sometimes we prepare performance during few hours. The secret of our success is too simple we just want crazy to do our work and we say simple truth that is not normal for our government.

The topless members of the group does generate a lot of publicity. But being a woman’s group, does it negatively affect your image?

Femen: This is our style our form of protest. to be topless is our image and it can not be negative.
In Ukraine some people are not ready for topless but this is radical way of fighting that we use. We don’t have money and people who can help us. We have only our body and mind  so we are ready to leave clothes for our rights and it doesn’t matter that someone can say something bad.

What are the current important issues for FEMEN in Ukraine?

Femen: Ukraine is the main issue for Femen. Of course we are troubling by sex-tourism and prostitution in Ukraine and especially during Euro 2012 that will be in cities of Ukraine as we know that our government want to earn money by this business. Also we are against big influence of Russia on Ukraine. Ukrainian people don’t want to be under Asia we want to be European country. We are protesting totalitarianism of our president and government and we don’t want to see Russian hand on our country. the main issue is to show people that they should fight for their rights not being scared of anyone.

What are the current international issues for FEMEN?

Femen: We want to do Femen all over the world  and we did already first step in Poland when Inna Shevchenko our activist did mono-performance in the centre of Warsaw saying "Less Europe in Ukraine, more Asia". We want to say to all the world that women should go to the top of politic, women should build world together with men.
We want to do Femen in every country or to do the international trip and to tell our ideas to the world now we don’t have resources but we will work for that.

What are the next steps for FEMEN?

Femen: We dream that we will become a new political party and will not give country to the hands of people who believe in totalitarianism. We dream that in few years every girl will call herself Femen and it will mean that she is strong and intelligent. We want to do international movement. And I hope that soon we will do Femen in USA with beautiful American girls.
Now important for us to find independence I mean to find resource to develop as strong organization. We don’t want to depend on politicians etc as they want to buy our idea.
We believe that soon Femen will be for all the world and it will be strong and powerful!

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