sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

August 29, 2011

Femen v. Slut Walks, Part II (PARTIAL NUDITY)

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:01 pm

Femen is most famous for being a feminist group.  The Other McCain has a video of their protest against the treatment of women in Suadi Arabia.  That particular action was in support of Saudi women driving.  Femen girls were screaming “Cars to women, camels to men.”  Ukraine — and Eastern Europe in general — is not excessively averse to ethnic stereotypes.  This would be a taboo to Western feminists because in the liberal worldview multiculturalism trumps feminism, so no reminding Arab people of their contributions to civilization — or lack of thereof.

For some reason, a half a century ago, Western women allied themselves with non-whites and gays in an effort to fight white male patriarchy.  Maybe it made some sense in the 1960s, but contemporary feminists (and gays) should be opposed to multiculturalism because the Third World doesn’t treat women and gays very well.  If men from, say, Kenya and Malaysia didn’t seem too powerful back then, they wield considerably more power now that their numbers have grown, and many of them have voting rights in the West.  That’s a threat to the status of women here.

When Femen strips in their cultural centers, purveyors of Islamic chauvinism get what they deserve.  If our own Suicide Girls had any shame, they’d be stalking Saudi Embassies.  Or staging mass nudist protests in neighborhoods where Muslim men rape indigenous girls.  Or even demonstrate in front of the nearest city hall demanding a burka ban, because if public nudity is illegal, why not the full cover up?  Unfortunately, Suicide Girls or Slut Walkers have no shame; they are insecure girls who try to figure out if they feel any guilt, and if they do, exorcize it.  Which seems to be the point of the Third Wave feminism around here.

Back to Ukraine, although Femen is known to be a feminist group, they are  kind of multipurpose protestors.  Here, for instance, they register their disapproval with the Viktor Yanukovych’s use of the Presidential helicopter:

naked feminists

Question: Does his why fly her own? (H/t Heathermc).

And here I give you their protest against turning off the water at the Kiev University dormitory:

naked feminists

"Drown bureaucrats in the fountain," declares the sign.

When I was growing up, which is the 70s and the 80s, the water would get turned off a few times a year because of pipe issues.  Nice to know that it still happens in the Old Country.  I doubt if the government still owns the water and the plumbing, but if I were a student at that university, I’d be pissed too.

And here they are protesting poor driving conditions:

naked feminists

They should protest poor walking conditions as well.  They are not into removing ice and snow from the streets in winter.  Old people have to be either brave or desperate to leave the house.

As you noticed, Ukrainian women are uniformly flexible.

Femen knows how to create a spectacle, and they do seem to be an exclusive group.  From time to time they recruit dancers who, as you see, don’t necessarily wish to go topless.  No worries; Gustol has a half a dozen of hot chicks willing to play this part; and they always seem to be the same girls.

Compare it to San Francisco Slut Walk recorded by Zombie.  The event is fairly well attended, not bad for an Obama-era protest, actually.  But the women look goofy and frumpy by comparison.  Even the supposedly hot chick is not that hot (sorry, I had to make a value judgment here).  Slut Walk does manage to flex the feminist muscle: If they can convince goofy girls to dress up as sluts on occasion, they are a power to recon with.

And Femen, what did they achieve?  Anna Gustol claims that the ladies draw attention to specific problems, and that, for instance, nobody in Ukraine talked about sex tourism and prostitution before the Femen protests.  Well, that’s something.

On the other hand, the Russian and Ukrainian press looks at Femen with derision.  For instance, last September Natalya Radulova wrote an essay about the group for the Russian periodical Ogonek.  Radulova wanted who know who’s behind Femen.  Turns out, the group is financed by a German DJ who likes the ladies because they are “crazy like me” and a media mogul Jed Sanden whose publications frequently feature hot Ukrainian feminists.  Although Gustol claimed that they get contributions from local businesses, Radulova reasoned that those came mostly in the form free coffee.  Something tells me this  journalist is correct.

Gustol once ran for Ukrainian Parliament, and lost.  Femen is not a mass movement, but an elite group of protesters.  No political interest backs them.  Evidently, they don’t respect an upstart like Femen in the East. The  Ogonek article is full of condensation and derision.  The girls are first-grade narcissists, and are just kind of sad.  Parents won’t talk to them, and, although they had no problem finding men to spank them in public, young ladies are single because no self-respecting man would date a slut.  If Radulova’s analysis is correct, the women of Femen are too into themselves to actually date.  Oh, and although they are subsidized from abroad, the money is barely enough to live on.

Radulova finds Femen’s political philosophy wanting.  The ladies are against many things, which, I suppose, makes them kind of anarchist.  I suspect that like all good anarchists they want a big government.  I once wrote to Femen requesting an email interview; they didn’t respond.

As a side note, there is, apparently, a call for young women of Russia to bare their chests for Putin (h/t Rouge Operator):

Note the Orthodox cross prominently featured on the student’s chest and the consumer electronics in her possession.  Technically, women are not bearing all for Putin, but for the electronics promised to the creator of the most original video.

Ukrainian feminists of more traditional orientation (yes, apparently, there are some) hate Femen.  Femen perpetuates sexual exploitation and sucks all the oxygen out of press coverage of Ukrainian feminism.  Also, Femen girls are hot.  Femen are not without a competitive streak themselves.  While opposed to sex tourism, the group is not too proud to sell their trademark boob-painted merchandise.

What gives?

May 4, 2011

What Now?

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:12 am

Killing Osama was an important step in the War on Terror.  It brought justice to the victims of 9/11 and gave a psychological boost to the West.  It showed our resolve and serves as a warning to any future assailants.  It also showcased the excellence of our armed forces.

But going after Bin Laden was the lowest common denominator of the War on Terror, something on which most of our varied political forces could agree.  Do we pursue regime changes in the Middle East?  Get rid of all terrorist groups?  Destroy Al Qaida?  Zero in on Osama?  The last goal is the least ambitious and palatable to the most.

When Nazi Germany fell, Hitler committed suicide.  He didn’t commit suicide after loosing Stalingrad or retreating from Poland.  His death marked the end of war.  We killed Bin Laden, and it kind of feels like closure, but is it?  Hillary has to warn us that the war is far from over, and the warning goes first and foremost to her own party which includes a sizable pacifist faction.  I’m interested to see how the Democratic party will now formulate foreign policy vis-a-vis the War on Terror, and whether it will be able to sell this policy to the mainstream voter.

I don’t think conservatives who pay attention will suddenly see Obama as a strong military leader.  Conservatives know that he deserves credit for carrying on with the policies of the Bush Administration, and that these are the policies (like designating Al Qaida detainees as enemy combatants and targeted assassinations) that he initially opposed.  Yesterday Rush gave Obama props for insisting on using the SEALs as opposed to the scorched Earth approach favored by the military: this way we can quell any future conspiracy theorists.  True, but it also shows Obama’s willingness to risk American lives when other alternatives are available.

While Osama was a hugely important terrorist symbol of the first decade of the 21st century, he was virtually retired by the time we got him.  He was no longer issuing orders to Al Qaida or any other terrorist network.  Plus, his popularity in the Muslim world peaked in 2003.  The Markets’ reaction to the news of his death was lukewarm.  It might just be that an average American might feel that Osama no longer poses the kind of threat he once did.  Maybe we have a short memory.  Perhaps we are too preoccupied with inflation, debt and unemployment.  While Obama will get some sort of a bounce in the polls, such bounce is likely be short-lived (via Political Junkie Mom).

In September 2001, I was a TA at UC Berkeley.  The professor I was helping thought it necessary to reassure “the kids” in her class that they are safe, so don’t worry, and worry about the poor people of Afghanistan who are about to get bombed.  I didn’t like her reaction then, and I couldn’t quite formulate my thoughts, and I didn’t have the background knowledge to back my arguments.  Now I’m going to say this: at 18, these students were adults.  And no, they weren’t safe, nobody ever is.  As adults they need to understand that it’s important to be vigilant, and we have to be on the lookout for all terrorist and other threats.  The threat of Islamism in particular is not limited to terror, and it’s paramount to prevent Islamism from infecting our democracy.  Who’s on board for that fight?

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