Femen: They came and everybody was scandalized
This is an article I wrote together with Maria Naredo and Bertha Gaztelumendi, both friends and colleagues in the Argituz Human Rights Association back in November 2013, as a reaction to the heavy-handed treatment the Spanish authorities initially doled out to the Femen activists who made the first heavily mediatized protest in the Spanish Congress of Deputies when a modification on the Law on Abortion was being debated.
This is part of the article:
“Feminism is an enormously plural and diverse movement, and it is immersed in constant debate. For example, there are very diverging opinions on the legalization of prostitution, which is something Femen opposes flat out. Other feminist organisations are also critical with this organization, because of the fact that those member of Femen that strip half naked correspond to the norms of beauty as accepted and defined by the patriarchy. However, transgressive actions by Femen activists provoke sympathies because, with just one stroke, they placed on the media agenda an imminent legislative reform that will seriously limit women’s rights to decide on their own bodies, taking Spain back to the situation that existed before 1985 and which would not be almost unheard of in the European context.
In fact, the media had not paid almost any attention at all to the efforts, demonstrations, reports, debates and reflections on the matter by the local feminism. As human rights activists, we believe that no woman should have her physical or psychic health threatened because she cannot have an abortion. These Femen activists have been accused of public scandal because they had interrupted a parliamentary session. The courts of law are now to decide on the matter, but, according to Article 497.2 of the Spanish Penal Code, it would seem to us that it is difficult to catalogue their action as a serious perturbation which is punished as a crime of alteration of public order in the Congress of Deputies. As long as there is no violence -and there wasn’t any in the case we are talking about- such action is not punishable. Quite another matter is whether one shares or doesn’t share their claims or methods”.
It is my intention to translate -in full- all my articles into English. I will certainly be doing so in due course. Once I do translate this particular one, I shall be publishing the full translation here. In the meantime, you can read the original version in Spanish and Basque in the links below.
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