Last October, I wrote a post discussing FEMEN’s tactics to “liberate” Muslim women in France. Since then, FEMEN has hit the media again with their International Topless Jihad Day campaign, which was said to be in support of Amina Tyler, who despite her association with FEMEN has condemned the burning of Islamic symbols and the insults against Islam that went on during the demonstrations. (In addition, it is worth asking if Tyler got anything out of these protests or if her image was just used by FEMEN to advance a different agenda.)FEMEN’s tactics do not bring anything new to the arena. The group has protested in a variety of settings using the now famous “booby tactic” where they display their breasts or dress up in provocative outfits. While it seems that FEMEN is more show than action or real change, the International Topless Jihad Day got a lot of media attention, but also some great responses that outlined everything that is wrong about FEMEN’s attitude towards Islam and Muslim women.The reactions within Muslim groups have varied. While there are a few articles out there that make it into a debate of nakedness vs. modesty, equating one with freedom or lack thereof (here, here and here), I feel that it is very important to look at the issue from different angles.
I personally believe that the issue with FEMEN has nothing to do with hijabs or naked breasts. FEMEN is not the first or the last group using nudity to provoke the public, and I think that there are bigger things to get upset about, rather than them protesting naked or calling for Muslim women to do so. [Read more...]