Ukrainian feminist activist group Femen have continued their topless protests with an appearance at Nina Ricci’s show at Paris Fashion Week. Jumping onto the runway with ‘Model don’t go to brothel’ and ‘Fashion dictaterror’ painted across their chests, it was slightly unclear what the women were protesting against or why. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that they had merely taken issue with ‘the status quo’ (arguably a refreshing stance.)
The model who they attempted to involve in their protest, Hollie-May Saker, demonstrated a complete lack of amusement and later claimed on Twitter that she had ‘punched’ the ‘stupid bitch’ for getting her ‘saggy tits in my face’. When challenged by a follower and reminded that we are supposedly ‘all on the same side’, Saker replied that ‘If we are all on the same side then tell me why when I was doing my job did she come ruin it and lift up my skirt?’
Although it seems from the footage that Saker’s skirt was more the victim of crossfire than deliberately assaulted by Femen – caught in a topless woman’s wrist as she attempted to raise an arm of solidarity with the model – Saker clearly did not take kindly to having her job disrupted. ‘Have fun scrubbing that shit off your body bitch never been to a brothel in my life’ she tweeted, having already considerably over-used the word ‘bitch’. It’s fair to say that she won’t be signing up at the nearby Femen HQ, which moved last year to Paris, any time soon.
"Model don't go to brothel" doesn't quite make sense. Are they saying it in the sense of, "Models, don't go to brothels!" as a sort of warning? Are they telling young girls that modeling is the preferable alternative to becoming a prostitute? Are they somehow implying that the catwalk leads inexorably to the whorehouse? It's really not very clear. A little punctuation -- like a comma after the first word -- might have helped.
"Fashion dictaterror" is even less clear. Are they saying that the concept of fashion terrorizes models, and maybe females in general? Or are they saying that fashionable models tend to be a bit tyrannical? (That's been my experience, to be honest.)
I looked up "dictaterror," but alas, there is no such word. Which means, I guess, that it means whatever you want it to. Perhaps it means, "Please have sex with me." (One interpretation is as good as another.)
You have to wonder exactly what the thinking is behind this group. They seem a little confused.
Maybe they're frustrated models themselves, angry because they had to accept the second rate modeling assignment of protesting for FEMEN. They'd undoubtedly prefer to be making the bigger bucks that come with actually modeling Nina Ricci designs; but if they can't, they'll disrupt those who do.
Or maybe it's all just performance art -- a genre where making sense is not a priority. If that's the case, then their act is geared purely towards garnering attention, which is what most of modern art is about.
But, even though their message is garbled, they do seem to be Leftists. So at least we know they're Good People.
Still, one has to wonder who is behind them. Well, that mystery has evidently been solved.
From yesterday's Independent:
Femen recently came under controversy after 28-year-old male Victor Svyatskiy was 'outed' as the mastermind behind the group by Australian film maker Kitty Green. Ms Green alleges Mr Svyatskiy hand-picked the most attractive women "because the prettiest girls sell papers."
Click on that link ("controversy") and you'll find that Victor Svyatski both founded and controls the group. Ms. Green said that he "was quite horrible with the girls. He would scream at them and call them bitches." (Dictaterror?)
But the funniest, most ironic thing, is what Svyatski himself says about the women he hires: "These girls are weak. They don't have the strength of character. They don’t even have the desire to be strong. Instead, they show submissiveness, spinelessness, lack of punctuality, and many other factors which prevent them from becoming political activists. These are qualities which it was essential to teach them.”
It's certainly an interesting take from the head of a purportedly feminist group.
Another excerpt from the Independent article:
One of the Femen campaigners talks of the relationship between the women and the movement’s founder as being akin to “Stockholm syndrome”, in which hostages feel sympathy for their captors.
“We are psychologically dependent on him and even if we know and understand that we could do this by ourselves without his help, it’s psychological dependence,” she says.
When asked by Ms. Green if his motivation was “to get girls,” Svyatski replied, “Perhaps yes, somewhere in my deep subconscious."
My guess is that you don't really have to go that deep. And that what Svyatski is operating is essentially a brothel for himself.
Models, don't go to brothels!