A boob for women’s lib?

4 Mar

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned women’s lib? Those long-gone days when plucky women threw themselves onto race courses and burnt their bras. Bravery and dignity. The liberation of Mrs Smith from the kitchen sink used to be momentous – the arrival of the contraceptive pill, labour-saving devices such as the washing machine, and equal pay (of course the latter is unfortunately yet to be translated into reality but that’s another story).

In 2011, the right of women to be recognised as individuals rather than objects and how that is conveyed to the apparently misogynistic wider public has turned itself upside down. The BBC recently reported on a competition on a radio show in New Zealand that offered the chance to ‘win’ a Ukrainian wife. (In reality it was more of a plush date where the winner got a 12-day trip to the Ukraine and his pick of a Ukrainian lovely from a dating website – no guarantees of NZ visa to the lucky lady of course.) The competition caused quite a furore amongst feminists in the Ukraine. (Really, haven’t they seen Take Me Out? A TV show truly demeaning to both sexes – quite a feat. Funny though.) The BBC summarises so neatly what struck me most about the story:

Nine women protested topless outside Kiev’s marriage registration office, holding banners with slogans such as ‘Ukraine is not a brothel’.

Very good point, the Ukraine is indeed not a brothel. And good for them for taking a stand and making a point, erm, points (I expect it’s chilly in the Ukraine this time of year). But, hold on, they were topless? They’re not happy for one woman to get the chance of a hot date with a Kiwi but they are happy to wave their baps at the world in a display that Hugh Hefner would find more than mildly pleasing?

Femen – the Ukrainian organisation behind the protest – claim that the only way for them to get noticed in the media and the wider world is to stage such naked protests. No, really? Try telling that to the suffragette movement who seemed quite content to keep their knockers under wraps and achieved far more than a half page on BBC News Online. The stated objective of Femen is to “To develop leadership, intellectual and moral qualities of the young women in Ukraine”. Using her body may be empowering for a woman (so goes the argument for Nuts, FHM, Page 3, etc etc) but this somehow jars with Femen’s lofty objective. I should imagine that baring your boobs in the outside air actually causes the blood to rush away from your brain and thus depletes your capacity to exercise your ‘intellectual and moral qualities’. Call me old-fashioned by I’m all for keeping boobs in bras in public, albeit charred bras. I await Radio 4’s competition to win Germaine Greer.


One Response to “A boob for women’s lib?”


  1. Wanted: new knickers « Crumbs and Pegs - November 26, 2011

    […] weather’s turned cold and women have stopped getting their boobies out in the name of women’s rights. […]

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