Three shirtless women ran up to Russian Vladimir Putin shouting “dictator” when he visited Germany in 2013. They were activists of FEMEN, an international feminist organization well-known for its surprise protests where topless activists show political slogans written on their body. There is a lot of controversy over FEMEN because its activists advocate “sextremism” and engage in radical protests all around the world. But their protests spark attention, which would not have been highlighted if it were not for their half-naked protests.
Many women, especially those in their 20s, are taking actions against inconvenient reality that they are facing such as sexual objectification and discrimination based on appearance. Fire Femi Action, a feminist group, held a shirtless protest on last Monday against Facebook that deleted photographs of their topless bodies taken during a protest. #corsetfree movement is spreading across social media as well. Women smash cosmetic products or cut their hair short and post photos, calling makeups, long hair and diet a corset that society forced.
This does not only involve radical feminists. Some 15,000 women (estimated by the police) gathered Saturday at the second protest against police gender discrimination in sexual crimes in Hyehwa, Jongno. The protesters claim that police investigation on a female user who posted a nude of a male model posing for fine arts students on a website is prejudiced. The dress code was red, which symbolized anger of women. The streets were inflamed by the red color.
There is a logical leap in the argument that the police investigation was promptly made because the victim was a man. But there is urgency in the collective fury expressed by young women. Women in their 20s are alpha females who surpass men in every way including grades and leadership. But they are facing backward reality such as illegal photography, dating abuse and discrimination in employment. As a result, they are adopting feminism as a way to survive and break through. Some say that things are better now for women, but that does not mean anything for these women.