People often think that FEMEN is simply a bunch of pretty young women showing their breasts in protest of political issues. Because of this, the organization is often met with criticism that they’re not proper activists, not good enough feminists or not doing enough to make a difference. What people don’t see is the behind the scenes of what these young women deal with day to day: The undercover meetings, the arrests, the interrogations, the kidnappings, being tortured, having their homes raided and fleeing for their lives. Some members of FEMEN were forced to apply for asylum in Europe where they currently run sections of FEMEN in countries like Sweden and France. I Am FEMEN is a doc that exposes all of these truths that are otherwise unknown from the outside world.
Oksana Shachko, who’s featured in the doc and is also the co-founder of FEMEN and the artist behind the public image, broke both her arms while fleeing Ukraine with other activists who faced ten years in prison. Oksana’s also been banned for life in Russia for protesting Putin. As a teenager, her fascination with religious paintings led her to seriously consider entering a convent, but in the end she used her talent to create and promote the FEMEN movement. Between a fiery need to create and a deeply-rooted will to change the world, she helped found the famous group of women activists, which has led her from her native Ukraine to the four corners of Europe.
I Am FEMEN is an inside look of what goes on within the popular movement throughout the world and the every-day women inside it. Humanizing the faces we often see in the media but don’t know anything about, the film shows young women who are interested in creating change what fighting for equality really looks like. More than just exposing breasts, these women are exposing ideas – and while you certainly don’t need to bare it all to make a difference, the doc introduces what many young women are doing to pave the way for feminism around the world. As it’s stated in the film, they’re using their bodies as a weapon and taking them back from the patriarchy by using them in protest.
Catch the I Am FEMEN screening in Toronto on October 7th 2014 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Canada. For more information on the screening, click here. For more information on FEMEN, click here.