It’s a late night in the Brejnev district in Kiev, we are meeting at the 29b building. “Call me before, I will come down”. She opens the door, she is tall, blond and very pretty. We follow her down a hallway that is dirty like all the other building, but the flat is bright and effervescent. A television station is interviewing some of the girls. Each of them are activists for the feminist group Femen, the topless Ukrainian feminists group.
Sacha Chevtchenko, 23 years old, is the founding member. Their goal is to fight sexual tourism and to educate women to be more assertive and powerful. They use their bodies as a weapon. “At the beginning, we were so native and we manifested with balloons shouting some slogans, but nobody listened us. But one day, we don’t know why, one of us, Kseniya Chatchko, undressed, and we saw that the people, the press started to see us and to listen us.”
Since then, every week, around 20 activists like Sacha stage topless protests in the streets. They say they are the heiresses of the Orange Revolution even if they don’t recognize themselves in a political male dominated world, and even less Ioulia Timochenko, the Ukranian politician who “did nothing for the women”.
“I have been arrested around 15 times by the police, the first time it was a little bizarre to be naked in the street. Now, it’s become usual,” says Inna, 21 years old. She is responsible for the group’s political actions. She joined the Femen’s group after she undressed during a municipal council meeting in Kiev to protest against the lack of women in the government of president Viktor Ianoukovitch.
Their action shocks traditional feminists, but Anna Hustol, the Femen Leader, believes the old generation is frightened by women’s nudity. “But us, we understood that our body could become a weapon. That’s why we use it like a bomb. We are the resistance to a macho society. Our dream is to become an international feminist group which could touch the public opinion on all injustices against women”.