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mephotoVikki Lang is an MJur student at Durham Law School.

They call themselves the ‘naked soldiers of feminism.’ They are the women that ran down the runway in Paris fashion week, shouted ‘Fuck Democracy’ to Putin, interrupted Pope Benedict’s Sunday mass with ‘homophobe Shut up’, and organised world-wide ‘topless hijab protests.’ They are Femen; the bare-breasted self-dubbed ‘sextremists’, and they are coming to the UK.

In a recent interview with the Huffington post, lead campaigner Inna Shevchenko summarises the cause of Femen; ‘our main enemy is patriarchy and its three manifestations – dictatorship, religion and the sex industry.’ Their main methods in fighting patriarchy? Their breasts. Their protests are often dangerous and can be violent, their tactics are extreme and shocking, often resulting in the women being forcibly removed, arrested, and even allegedly kidnapped. It is not surprising that debate surrounding this Ukrainian-born group is high. It has once again ignited after their announcement to set up a Femen branch in the UK, with the leader Inna Shevchenko vowing that ‘the streets of London will be occupied by our naked bodies painted with our political demands.’

They certainly get people talking. As a group of topless beautiful women, they are frequently on front covers of newspapers, tabloids, online blogs and social media sites; their radical protests are difficult to avoid. But is this the sort of publicity feminism in the UK needs? Is there a place for radical feminist protest in the UK or, more specifically, is there a place for protest using the female body? (more…)

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