Empowerment doesn't mean nudity. Picture by Carolmooredc.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former Finance Minister, IMF chief, and front-runner to beat Sarkozy in next year's presidential election was knocked out of the presidential race after a slew of alleged sexual offences. Now all charges have been dropped, and feminist group Femen, seeing this as an example of money men being able to bend the rules, has decided to take to the streets in protest. Topless.
Eastern European feminists seem more inclined to get their kit off than their western counterparts: earlier this year, Czech parliamentarians produced a seductive calendar to celebrate the election of more women than ever before to the legislative chamber. It certainly puts the old adage that feminists are all ugly to bed, so to speak, but it's doing no favours for their cause. How can you make a stand against male exploitation of the female body if you're standing naked on a city street? How is a calender a means of celebrating female empowerment? The explanation, is, as always, 'celebrating female sexuality' or even taking control of it: but that's perfectly possible to do it with your clothes still on. It is quite clear that their brand of 'sexuality' does not appeal to most women, who are quite comfortable keeping their clothes on, thank you very much - and not being any less attractive for it
The propensity to get naked is one of many factors undermining modern European feminism. Along with the sexism, double-standards, and an unhealthy obsession with finding 'offence' in places where most women would just see the increasingly unisex routine of domestic life or some self-styled lad's attempt at a joke, they are becoming increasingly detached from the women they purport to represent.
There are vast areas of the world where the treatment of women is barely up to medieval standards: in fact, to call it medieval would be an insult. Many of these places were comparatively better in the Dark Ages. These are all places where feminist is needed. It would help the modern feminist cause a great deal if they would focus their efforts somewhere that feminism is sorely needed, rather than wasting their time extrapolating from statistical anomalies or individual events in places where the two instruments that women need to further themselves - education and the vote - are already assured.