A photo recently came to our attention, and subsequently our Facebook newsfeed was abuzz about it. The photo, already publically published on Facebook since April, comes from the extremist feminist and self-avowed atheist group “FEMEN International,” which counts among its objectives to foment open conflict against those who hold traditional familial and sexual values, and “to create the most influential and combat-effective women’s union in the world" in order to “promote new revolutionary female sexuality as opposed to the patriarchal erotic and pornography.”
In some sense the photo is but a variation on FEMEN’s standard fare: a topless woman (of course a slim blonde—really sticking it to those patriarchal animals!) pointing a gun towards the viewer, decked in a crown of barbed wire thorns. Violence and mockery of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is nothing new from this band—one of the more “polite” examples we could put forth is a picture which solicits submissions of topless women in front of religious institutions, bearing the inscription upon their chests “I AM GOD.” Of course such blasphemy is saddening, but our Lord already told us the world would hate Him, and us, and called upon us to prepare ourselves to respond with humility and love.
Understandably, Orthodox Christians and people of rational thought find themselves deeply disturbed by such a photo. FEMEN can’t even be bothered to pretend to hold to the cherished liberal “open-mindedness,” but openly despises all who disagree with them, who they see as standing in the way of their envisioned earthly utopia where the most debased licentiousness will reign supreme.
As Christians we turn our cheeks, but we bear no responsibility to turn His Holiness’ cheek for him. Thus, an increasing number have officially reported the photo to Facebook for violating the “community’s” standards in a number of ways, including the use of hate speech and symbols. Surely such a hateful and intentionally provocative photo could not be sanctioned by our ever-reasonable Facebook, but has simply slipped through the cracks, past the Facebook censors. Surely.
But, alas, for each report, the response comes back the same: “We reviewed the photo you reported for [insert reason] and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.”
We reported the photo, by the following steps:
Report Photo>I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook>Something else>This advocates violence or harm to a person or animal.
However, despite the fact that a photo of a gun-brandishing activist openly and explicitly calling for “violence or harm to a person”—that is, the head of the majority of the world’s Orthodox Christians—was reported for advocating “violence or harm to a person,” our benevolent Facebook overseers have decided that it somehow does not “violate Community Standards.”
Come again? Do the words “Kill Kirill” buttressed by a gun-wielding femi-terrorist indicate something other than an advocacy of “violence or harm to a person” in some mystical tongue known only to the FEMEN and Facebook initiated? Yes, to their “naked attacks” these women wear some flowers in their hair, but we surely won’t meet some gentle people there.
That is, the powers that be at Facebook have reviewed this troubling photo, many times over, and many times over deemed it quite acceptable for the general viewing public. That is, those who promise us in their responses: “We want to keep Facebook safe and welcoming for everyone,” do not count Orthodox Christians, Russians, and conscience-bearing people of all stripes amongst that “everyone” (and of course not His Holiness the Patriarch himself—those pesky ecclesiastical titles violate the “Community’s Standards!”).
At first glance, FEMEN’s goals are not anti-Christian. From their website, amongst their “requirements” are:
immediate political deposition of all dictatorial regimes creating unbearable living conditions for women, first of all, theocratic Islamic states practicing Shari'ah and other forms of sadism regarding women
complete extermination of prostitution as an egregious form of exploitation of women by criminalizing the clients, investors and organizers of slave-trade. To recognize that sex-industry is the most large-scale and long-term genocide against women
Indeed, deposition of Islamic regimes that persecute Christians would make the world a more peaceful place, and without the heart-breaking sex slave trade and general global sex industry there would be fewer rapes and women everywhere would be given back their dignity. But how dignified is it for a woman to bare her body soiled with graffiti for the world to see? The poor women of FEMEN fail to realize that their equal-opportunity hatred of all religion leads them to blindly reject not only that which enslaves women, but also precisely that which sets them free—not only that which degrades women, but precisely that which elevates them: the opportunity to return to the original likeness of God through the Christian faith.
And their rejection of true, uncreated freedom, in exchange for the mere notions of darkened created minds is evident. Paradoxically, while proclaiming themselves harbingers of a greater virtue—a greater humanity—they seek to prove it and bring it about by displaying themselves before the world in a manner akin to naked, uninhibited, shameless beasts. They claim war against the sexual degradation of women in the forms of prostitution and pornography, and yet ironically, the group’s very public “naked attacks” and various websites that chronicle them are nothing short of pornography. Their every bare-breasted move, for the world’s cheap and easy viewing pleasure, fuels the lust that oils the sex industry-machine. Freedom, you say?
But then again, some knowledge of the history of the self-contradicting FEMEN makes it all clear. FEMEN, the nudists’ girl-power movement, fighting the good fight against patriarchy worldwide, is, in fact, the machinations of … a man, and one who by all evidence is no advocate of women’s rights.
In her ground-breaking documentary, Ukraine is Not a Brothel, 28-year-old Australian film-maker Kitty Green, who spent a year in a Ukrainian flat with four members of FEMEN, accompanying them on several of their missions, revealed that the founder and mastermind of the group is the Ukrainian nationalist Victor Svyatski. “It’s his movement and he hand-picked the girls,” she says. And what’s more: “He hand-picked the prettiest girls because the prettiest girls sell more papers. The prettiest girls get on the front page ... that became their image, that became the way they sold the brand.” When pressed whether he founded FEMEN in order to be surrounded by beautiful women, Svyatski replied, “Perhaps yes, somewhere in my deep subconscious.”
Regardless of claims that Svyatski has been ousted, we see that these unfortunate women are caught up in something far beyond their control, which holds for them no hope of freedom—a truth which is, ironically, made manifest in their assault on Truth, here under the symbol of Patriarch Kirill.
So, the psychological picture we get of a typical FEMEN activist is not an independent woman but a dependent one, ready to do anything to get “daddy’s” attention, and by extension, the attention of all men around the world. In today’s society, sick with fatherless families and sexual abuse, we have an enormous potential for a riotous, man-hating crowd of shameless women, ready to desecrate all that is sacred. Proof of the group’s year-by-year escalating violence can be seen in media reports on FEMEN demonstrations.
They are particularly active in traditionally Catholic countries. They would like to be more active in Orthodox countries, but find it too dangerous. FEMEN began in the Ukraine, a traditionally Orthodox country, ostensibly to protest the sex slave traffic flourishing there. (The strange irony of exposing yourself to fight sex slavery is another matter.) But when FEMEN members sawed down a cross in downtown Kiev in August 2012, they not only exposed their true colors but turned Ukrainians sharply against them. After co-founders Anna Hutsol and Victor Sviatsky were threatened, Sviatsky bowed out and Hutsol immigrated to France, there to delight in the fruits of the French Revolution. Now FEMEN has headquarters in France, a once overwhelmingly Catholic country. Since then, FEMEN has gone international, with protests becoming increasingly revealing of their own private parts, and increasingly violent against “patriarchy.” For example:
-In Kiev, 2009, FEMEN appeared in bathing suits to protest that, “Ukraine is not a brothel.”
-In 2010, they went topless outside the Kiev Secret Service Building
-In July 2012, members attacked Patriarch Kirill, with “kill Kirill” painted on their backs (note: it only rhymes in English, and that was the language chosen).
-In August 2013, members chain sawed a cross in front of Kiev’s Independence Square. (The cross was a memorial to the victims of the Cheka and NKVD in the thirties.)
Andrè-Joseph Leonard, the strongly pro-life and pro-family Catholic Archbishop of Mechelen Brussels.
-In Argentina in 2013, at a “March for Women” protest, members spray-painted the crotches and faces of groups of praying men linked arm-in-arm to protect the Cathedral, and used markers to paint their faces with Hitler-like moustaches. They also performed obscene sexual acts in front of them and pushed their breasts onto their faces, all the while shouting “get your rosaries out of our ovaries.”
-On October 13, 2015 in Mar de Plata, Argentina, at the annual “March for Women,” hordes of women, many of them masked and half naked, violently assaulted a group of young men who stood outside the Cathedral of Mar de Plata praying and standing watch. The women also attacked the police, tore down the outer gate of the cathedral, hurled glass bottles and feces at the young men standing guard, and attempted to burn down the cathedral.
It is clear to see from even this however incomplete timeline that the group is becoming increasingly violent, shameless, depraved, and anarchical. Gaining mass as mobs, they are becoming increasingly uncontrolled.
But let’s look at the business side of FEMEN. According to Wikepedia, FEMEN administrators earn money through the sale of products bearing the FEMEN logo. FEMEN also receives donations from individuals like the Jewish American businessman Jed Sunden (founder of Ukrainian KP Media and former owner of Kyiv Post newspaper), Helmut Geier (also known as a DJ under the alias DJ Hell), German businesswoman Beate Schober (who is currently residing in Ukraine), and Ukrainian Canadians (!).
In March 2012 Ukrainian magazine Focus claimed that FEMEN activists receive royalties for foreign interviews and in the tabloids. In the magazine Anna Hutsol confirmed that a rally in Istanbul was sponsored by a Turkish underwear-producing company.
A Ukrainian 1+1 journalist, who claimed (in September 2012) to have infiltrated the organization, says that its office in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, costs the movement over $2,500 per month, on top of which each member’s salary was roughly $1,000 per month.
Please note that the average salary in Kiev is $570, while the average salary in all of Ukraine from 1996 to July 2015 has been about $57. Since the first to “discover” and financially support FEMEN was the American owner of the KP media group, which published the Kyiv Post, it can be assumed that the burlesque female protesters first appeared on the front page of Sunden’s media. The ABC’s of American marketing says that “sex sells,” and Sunden’s media group has made him one of the richest men in the world.
Likewise, a $1000 per month salary for letting your inhibitions run wild against Catholic and Orthodox churchmen and politicians is good pay compared to honest labor for $57. This is not to mention the posh Paris headquarters and paid travel.
It is not only Facebook that seems to condone FEMEN. Some ask the question: Why, after so many violent and offensive actions do the FEMEN girls still seem to have free pass in the media to stir up hatred? In England a man was jailed for more than a year for throwing bacon at a mosque after the killing of soldier Lee Rigby. The FEMEN women rarely get more than a slap on the wrist or a fine. How is it that people from the former Soviet Union (who are mostly trying to escape poverty) face such red tape when emigrating or travelling, while the Ukrainian FEMEN women were given carte blanch not only to resettle in France, but to travel freely almost anywhere?
And Facebook ignores this information? How much is Facebook profiting from these pictures displaying (for free) both nudity and violence? How long does the public have to wait for an assassination, while godless businessmen reap the financial benefit? And who else is involved in funding FEMEN?
 But as it is, they can threaten only to assassinate the shepherds of Christ’s flock.
However, as Fr. Seraphim Rose once said of Nietzsche, perhaps their fervent persecution of Christ (and themselves), points in fact to their fervent, but unrealized desire for Christ—Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (Acts 9:4). But again, when persecuted, the Christian does not respond in kind, does not respond with hatred or enmity, but rather with humility, compassion, and love. The Church is tasked with bearing the light of Christ to the world, nourishing whatever flame may flicker within the hearts of our neighbors, and so, we can support and defend our beloved hierarch, but with love and prayer for those afflicted souls who seek to afflict us. This is how the peaceful guardians of the churched have behaved in the face of this hellish mob.
Facebook, however should be held accountable for allowing this violence to be promoted on its social network, and we should not stop sending our complaints.
But at the same time, let’s pray for these lost women who strangely push women’s “rights” by stripping themselves of their dignity; who protest against sex trafficking by selling themselves to business and political concerns. They are, in fact, the most wretched victims of a most brazen, cynical exploitation.