Liberalism Unveiled: FEMEN-Muslim Women Debate and the Question of Freedom
In 2013, Ukraine-based feminist group FEMEN staged several protests around Europe in support of Amina Tyler, a Tunisian FEMEN activist receiving death threats for posting nude photographs of her online with social messages written on her body. Following these protests, a group of women who call themselves Muslim Women against FEMEN released a an open letter criticizing the discourse FEMEN used in these protests, which they found to be white colonialist and Islamophobic. In this paper, the author examines the discursive strategies put forth by the two sides of the debate, suggesting that undergirding both is a shared framework of liberalism. Exploring the shortcomings of liberalism as drawn on by both positions, the author attempts to rethink what “freedom” might mean for international feminist alliances across differences.
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