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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

  • Smith and Wesson and Me

    Disgusting. Not nudity, these women, er, um wh0r3s.

  • Ron Noname

    So many Russian girls/women look old beyond their years.
    So often their is no lightness in their faces, though many of the actually are attractive.

  • Igor Barrios

    Ridiculous, i know them quite well…Good way to make money!

  • http://jasonaltaan.com/ Jason Altaan

    theyre not nude, youre undeniably holding a double standard

  • becka

    hmm…99% white, thin, beautiful women….sus.

  • Glenn Davey

    Paul…oh you’re a man? Of course you are.

    See, you saying that its sad they don’t have a top on: that’s what they’re protesting.

    These girls are protesting against you, Paul, saying they shouldn’t be topless.

    They’re saying “YES, we CAN BE TOPLESS. You can’t tell us NO!”

    Do you understand yet? Silly male?

  • Glenn Davey

    If you are topless there’s no problem, because you’re male. But it’s “sad” they took their tops off?

    Do you see the double standard? They are fighting double standards that say it’s normal for a guy not to wear a shirt, but it’s “sad” if woman doesn’t wear a shirt.

    Is your brain working yet?

  • Glenn Davey

    That’s their whole point. That’s what they’re protesting about.

    That they live in a society like you described.

    Why is it OK for men to walk around with no tops, but if women take their tops off “no-one is listening”.

    Do you understand WHY they MUST do this, now?

    Is your brain working yet?

  • Glenn Davey

    Frankly I’m tired of naked young men. Men can be topless wherever they like, but when women do it it’s “redundant”? When men take their tops off, it’s not a point. But when women do it, it’s an “approach” ?

    You need to interrogate your own thought processes. Re-visit your prejudices.

  • Glenn Davey

    It’s your stupid comments which means they MUST do this. Your ignorance astounds me

  • Glenn Davey

    I don’t think you mean that. I think you’re sad that girls don’t like you

  • Glenn Davey

    This website is full of misogyny

  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/73241594@N08/ Tom

    there wouldn’t be an article lmao

  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/73241594@N08/ Tom

    You’re such an annoying person, I get that these girls want equality and I honestly don’t care bout girls having their boobs out as I’ve seen girls walkin round in the summer like that before and no one gives a fuck. But you don’t do it on the streets, there’s something like “public order” and frankly no one likes seeing guys showing off their manboobs either. There are other and more effective ways to address this problem

    If anything, guys should learn how to put on a shirt not girls having their tits out everywhere. It’s not showing respect to your body in any way by letting everyone in on them, it’s a shameless cry for attention and as stated before, it immensely diverts our attention from the problem. It’s utterly ironic AND moronic to cry about double standards, demanding respect, while being naked in public. You could be more intellectual about it, but alas the world has become so dumb it seems like nudity is the only way of getting mass media attention. So I’ll ask you Glenn, sure you don’t got your brain backwards just because you got some titties rubbed in your face? Is YOUR brain working yet?