ActivistVatican
via video screenshot

#MeToo Protest Against the Patriarchy At Vatican

The Vatican’s 2017 Christmas worship services were disrupted by three Femen activists. The latter was protesting against what they consider as women’s oppression by the Roman Catholic Church. The activist who heads Femen, Inna Shevchenko, told the media that the action by her group was a method to show solidarity with the social media movement #MeToo against harassment and sexual assaults against women.

A topless woman, later identified as Alisa Vinogradova, tried to snatch the Child Jesus statue from the St. Peter’s Square Nativity scene on December 25. Vinogradova rushed to the manger scene and shouted “God is a woman” before the police stopped her. The same slogan was also written on her back. The back was bare during the protests.

The Femen website describes Vinogradova as “sextremist”, a term she coined and gave herself. The Femen organization is a feminist extremist group based in Ukraine. The stated mission of the group is to be defeat patriarchy. The group has gained a lot of attention due to its members’ naked antics. The latter oppose religion and organized government. They strive for a world sans any religion and for equal rights for LGBTs. As per Femen, its weapons constitute ‘bare breasts’ and the aim is to ‘protest’.

The incident happened approximately two hours prior to Pope Francis giving his traditional Christmas message. Vinogradova was first intercepted by Vatican gendarmerie who then arrested her with the assistance of the Italian police.

For Femen, the December 25 event was the latest in its activities against the Vatican. Three Femen members in 2014 desecrated crucifixes in St. Peter’s Square as a mark of protest against the visit of Pope Francis to European Parliament. The group termed the visit as an attack against the secular ideals of the EU. The Ukrainian group was created to oppose the pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine. The group has also protested against the Catholic Church. Femen is vehemently against the Vatican’s stand on abortion and gay marriage.

Shevchenko compared her compatriot Femen activists to a Virgin Mary who is modern and free. According to the head of Femen, Mary, an important Catholic figure, is portrayed as a passive and silent individual. It is the same variety of passiveness, Shevchenko said, which is expected from women who have suffered sexual assault. The activist pointed out that Mary has been portrayed as a woman who has neither a voice nor sexuality.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter