my body is my manifesto! SlutWalk, FEMEN and femmenist protest
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This paper uses an intersectional analysis to look at contemporary forms of women’s popular protest in the hopes of raising questions about the explicit use of the gendered body in struggles for women’s emancipation. Specifically, it explores the protests of SlutWalk and FEMEN to suggest that such body protests exemplify a problematic interface between third-wave and postfeminism. This interface or junction is most noticeable and problematic in relation to uncontested auto-sexualisation or ‘femmenism’. I argue that any subversive potential these recent mobilisations might offer is limited through their reproduction of patriarchal, hegemonic norms. This piece is theoretical in the main, though it does include some preliminary qualitative research by way of drawing on websites, news reports, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and other online content produced by or about SlutWalk and FEMEN. The hope is to raise questions about the value of this increasingly pervasive use of sexualised, gender protest for feminist organising, not merely as an academic exercise but for its utility in practice.
KeywordsSlutWalk FEMEN protest body intersectionality
This paper benefited from comments by two anonymous reviewers, the Feminist Review Editorial Collective, feedback from Laurence Cox on an earlier version, and discussions with Siobhán, Lenka, Amber, and those who participated in the Festival for Choice workshop on the Female Body in Protest.
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