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Portraits of Beautiful, Topless and Highly Controversial Femen Activists (NSFW)


Sacha Shevchenko, 23 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE

Guillaume Herbaut’s series, The New Amazons, brought him to the Brejnev district in Kiev, Ukraine, where he took portraits of the controversial feminist group Femen. Femen activists strive to fight sexual tourism and to educate women to be more assertive and powerful. They use their bodies as weapons and protest nude, or topless, in the streets in order to achieve their goals.

Sacha Chevtchenko, the founding member, explained: “One day, we don’t know why, one of us, Kseniya Chatchko, undressed, and we saw that the people, the press, started to see us and to listen to us.”

Since then, activists come together and protest topless weekly. Each time, they gain more attention, which suits their agenda as they want to affect women’s rights not only in Ukraine, but globally, and become an international feminist group. They currently have over 300 members and are based in France.

The young women, armed simply with colorful wreaths, ribbons, and for the most part, thin, fragile-looking bodies, are boldly standing up to the male dominated politics of their country, and are regularly arrested. Don’t let appearances get in the way: these girls are fierce.


Xsenjia Shachko, 24 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Inna Shevchenko, 21 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Tanya Zatserkounaya, 22 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Sacha Niemchinova, 30 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Olga Blagodarova, 20 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Marianna Beltskaya, 20 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Yuliya Kovpatchik, 22 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Macha Khivrich, 18 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Tanya Zatserkounaya, 22 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE


Nataline Ossadchaya, 19 years old. Photo: Guillaume Herbaut/INSTITUTE

This post was contributed by photographer Sophie Butcher.

  • Pete

    This is also a great social experiment on how many years women will take off their actual age when being interviewed.

  • Werner

    If these had been nude male protestors, would the first adjective in the title have been ‘handsome’?

  • http://theburman.carbonmade.com Diana

    None of this has to do with their age, Pete.

  • http://cargocollective.com/amypiddington Amy

    Werner, I think that’s a good point. Whether they are “beautiful” or not is irrelevant and diminishes these women from activists who protest nude, to women posed to be admired for their beauty (before their beliefs).

  • Peter

    What powerful women! Doing what they do in the Ukraine really takes guts!
    REally nice project, great pictures.

    To the author, wasn’t there a better source than foxnews to link to ???

  • paul

    It’s sad that the only way these women get the much needed attention for their cause is by almost being forced to use their naked body. Only then they become interesting? What a total failure for some of the media.

    Apart from this the photography is speaking for itself, powerfull, confronting and no room for pointless shame.

    A personal comment: Know that there are also men out there who ask for a more feminin approach to many problems. Not everything needs to be solved by either arms, money or economic pressure. Let’s hope we get wiser in this era…

  • http://--- skbansal

    women should be seen in a real poss & figure. Dress has no meaning. It is just beauti to be admired & praised.

  • BZZ

    Generations of artists use nude women to make a statement, particularly young women. It has become so redundant. Try something new and original. Frankly I am tired of this approach.

  • BZZ

    it takes getting naked to get the media, public and mens attention, but they still give no relevance..Says a lot about a society?

  • yasky

    This is so ridiculous!
    Femen Women – - – you are young and may well regret going this route to get attention. Don’t you realize that no one is “listening” to you when you objectify yourselves physically this way – - you are simply being LOOKED at.

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  • TruNYC

    I’m listening. Just google the names because yes, they are beautiful and find them attractive. But now I know their story.

  • banana cheese

    wow these are powerful and amazing