A woman in Tunisia decided to cover her body with slogans/text and post images of it on the web. She got into trouble with Tunisian power, and Femen decided to show some support. At the bottom half of the link, there is a post by someone in Saudi arabia saying that Nudity liberates her not.
This seems interesting for seemingly mis conceiving nudity? On the face of it, sure baring some body parts that cultural – no, social – norms attempt to hide/cover is indeed, in itself an act of defiance within a normalised discourse (the question of body parts coverage for “modesty” perceptions), which indeed is nothing to do with neither liberation nor freedom but an expression of an outrage in the face of being told what to do.
Another element in the Femen activities is the use of body, which seems to me, again, to be well within an ironic re-inforcement of cultural focus on women’s bodies, – and body parts – as if they are objects
Hence, such an act is indeed an expression that, for a person happy to wear their turban, or work like a 9-17 slave, or get married, or any other authoritarian normative habit practice – is not liberating at all. As expressed in the posted image – don’t tell me what to do. (However, that message ignores the fact that the woman in Tunisia, Amina Tyler, might actually be muslim..)
Since the links to original posts are dead (interesting in itself) – am basing the next bit on the image in the link at the top of this post.
I think that the misunderstanding of liberation and freedom is in the fact that the act by Femen is within the normalised sense of discourse. Hence it is seen as an extreme – ie on one far end of the spectrum, something that prompts people to consider “middle ground” which then seems more measured and responsible.
However, there is another interesting element, a potential radical element in my mind, within the Femen activities.
The cultivation of the abstract. (..and here the nude question is a metaphor of abstractive operations rather than the focus in and of itself..) If the idea is for a culture to cultivate that which allows Other and Otherness to Be, to live fearlessly and flourish, then the Femen IDEA is not an extreme, isn’t it? The idea is simply for human societies to allow differences to live. It is to allow the burka, allow the turban, allow the 9-17 slave, and allow questioning them from top-to-bottom. Indeed, allow not 9-17.00 slavery, marriage, etc..
In this sense, I think, the idea that if nudity is not a social problem then neither will wearing a turban, heavy beard or a burka – is a wishful thinking (e.g. france’s burka laws). It is based on a future correlation that is taken for granted while one thing we know about the future is that it is unknown..
However, if the nude is taken as a metaphor for abstraction, then perhaps it can be argued that – like the secular state for all its different citizens – the nude is a symbol for the bareness that can be twisted by an individual for their own content.
A booty note(?)
It seems like this links with the thinking of elements allowing others – and vice versa – pending on focus. ie
say we focus on neutonian physics, they do not allow relativity. However, relativity allows neutonian. Or say we focus on driving on the left hand side as a guiding Rule of driving, then we limit the scope, we – or some people -find it hard to even consider driving on the right hand side. However, if we focus on Driving – sides are inconsequential, yet allowed to Be.