Feminism, Politics, and Nudity in France

Nude protests by women in Femen and marches by Muslim women who want to wear a veil in public have both created sustained controversy on feminism in French society and politics.

An essay by Mona Chollet entitled, “Femen partou, féminisme nulle parte,” in Le Monde Diplomatique critiques French media and its coverage of feminist issues.

Chollet deplores the sexism and voyeurism of the French and European news media, mockingly stating that: “Femmes, vous voulez vous faire entendre ? Une seule solution : déshabillez-vous !”

The activist organization Femen has adopted a pragmatic method of protesting, according to Chollet. “Les Femen, elles, ont été plus pragmatiques,” she argues. “Lors de leurs premières actions, en Ukraine, en 2008, elles avaient inscrit leurs slogans sur leurs dos nus, mais les photographes ne s’intéressaient qu’à leurs seins. Elles ont donc déplacé les inscriptions.” Below is one of Femen’s political ads:


But, there are costs for feminists who choose to use nudity to deliver their political messages. Chollet concludes that “il vaudrait mieux défendre la liberté des femmes à s’habiller comme elles le souhaitent.”

Le Monde Diplomatique has published Chollet’s essay online.

This entry was posted in European Union, French History, Human Rights, Paris History, Political Culture, Women and Gender History. Bookmark the permalink.

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