Topless Jihad Day : “My body is my own and not somebody’s honor.”

In Blog, Culture, Politicsby Fedayn16 Comments

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It’s a headline that’s going to get attention. International feminist group, Femen, are promoting today (4th April 2013) as Topless Jihad Day in support of a Tunisian comrade, Amina, who recently caused controversy when she posted a photograph of herself topless, smoking a cigarette & reading in a pair of jeans.

Facebook seems to be in constant battle with the Femen photographs, most of which are self-censored to hide the offending nipples (male ok, female bad!) . For example today they have also blocked the following photograph taken in Paris at a protest outside the Tunisian Embassy.

Femen activist attacked outside Tunisian Embassy, Paris

Femen activist attacked outside Tunisian Embassy, Paris

The Femen message and even motives are sometimes confusing, sometimes a little contradictory and the group seems to struggle to win support from respected feminists. The current campaign is largely aimed against the excesses of Islamist abuses of women and prompted by the threats against Amina.

She has gone into hiding of sorts following this call by Tunisian Salafi preacher Alami Adel (head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) :

“According to God’s law, she deserves 80 to 100 lashes, but what she committed is worth much more than that. She deserves to be stoned to death and she must be quarantined because what she did is an epidemic.”

Her family has since placed her in a mental asylum, claiming she has lost her mind  though this is most likely an act intended to keep her safe from attacks. Tunisia’s mostly secular laws will probably see her imprisoned for her but there are very genuine fears for her safety.

For developments follow Femen on Facebook here

Tunisian activist, Amina

Tunisian activist, Amina


  1. thank you Theresa, I’ve been moaning about this BS for ages!

  2. Thanks for that Theresa O’Keefe – although the page doesn’t impress greatly, a lot of disinformation and it requests transparency from Femen yet is completely anonymous. Do any of you rabble have opinions and or good sources of commentary on the Femen movement?

  3. i’ve done a bit of research into them for an academic paper i wrote recently. their founder and leader was actually trained by a programme funded by the US state department.

  4. Femen are pretty lame but there should be no question in people’s minds about whether to support Amina against the clerics who are calling for her to be killed. I’d rather not spend the rest of the day wading into another unedifying internet culture war but if anyone wants to do so, see below. Lots of ex-muslim women supporting her, lots of western feminists not supporting her, is the general sense I get.

  5. thanks naggle – that piece from Yvonne Ridley is appalling, what’s her form?

  6. I haven’t looked at it yet. I think she’s having a fight with Maryam over on that twitter.

  7. Namazie says Ridley is in the pay of the Iranian government (namazie is iranian) but who knows. Can’t find a source.

  8. It’s a funny (peculiar) debate. The Femen protests seem to be designed to provoke attacks against the women who are protesting – the protests produce wonderfully mediapathic images of beautiful vulnerable women being brutalised by men. Their aim seems to be freeing women from being sexually oppressed by men, and the method is to have women publically brutalised (which might in some way be a metaphor for the private brutalisations which go unseen).

    I’d query the efficaciousness of their campaign (I’m of the opinion that protests that don’t involve hundreds of thousands of people, and a hint of regicide will never accomplish much).

    However I’m befuddled by the arrogance of the arch-feminists who feel that they have domain over how other women define their femininity. It seems a dreadful transgression. There also seems to be a lack of connection between the ideology of feminism, and the apparent ideology of femenism; but the reaction of the feminists is not to discuss the politics of the femens (and there are plenty of routes of attack there) all the attacks are ironically ad hominem, the focus is on how Femen don’t agree with them (and so are bad people). Their conflation of islamist, with Islam is also bizarre, islamism is a political ideology centred around the islamification (by force if necessary) of the non-sharia world. It is not racist to be against islamists, its political. It is not even racist to be anti-Islamic, that’s sectarianism.

    Also there is something terribly inhumane in the implicit blaming of a victim of oppression simply because that person does not agree with your politics, and acts in ways you don’t agree with. Even if the harm (incarceration, whipping, or whatever) is foreseeable, the victim doesn’t deserve the harm that is a logical outcome of their action; inevitability doesn’t mitigate the injustice of that harm.

    Seems like some women are more equal than others.

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